ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 27: Chris Gimenez #60 of the Texas Rangers is congratulated for scoring in the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Globe Life Park in Arlington on June 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
Two of the better hitters going right now for the Texas Rangers are Robinson Chirinos and Chris Gimenez.
One problem: They play the same position — behind the plate.
On Tuesday in Baltimore, the Rangers found a way to get both bats in the lineup as Gimenez got the starting nod at first base for the first time this year, the sixth player to start a game at first base this year for the Rangers.
“I’ve watched him move around the base taking ground balls and I think he moves well,” manager Ron Washington told reporters on Tuesday when the lineups were released. “I figured if I was going to have both of my catchers in the lineup together, I didn’t want the second one at DH in case I had to move him behind the plate. I didn’t want to lose the DH.”
With the inevitable return of Geovany Soto coming after the all-star break, the picture will be even cloudier in regards to whether the Rangers will carry both Chirinos and Gimenez on the roster. Remember, Chirinos has played first base before, too, and he's been one of the best catchers in baseball this year at throwing out would-be base-stealers.
Carlos Pena appears to be the first baseman moving forward, but was simply given a day off on Tuesday.
In Gimenez's 18 games this year, which amounts to 63 at-bats, he's hit .302 with nine RBIs. In his 50 games and 165 at-bats, Chirinos is hitting .248 but is among the club leaders in home runs with seven and has 23 RBIs.
So what's the deal moving forward with these two? Chirinos clearly has the upper hand on Gimenez, and might get the majority of the starts even with Soto back because of his surprising defense this year. It'll be interesting to see if the Rangers find a way to keep Gimenez on the roster.