ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 15: (L-R) Prince Fielder #84 of the Texas Rangers celebrates his homerun with Kevin Kouzmanoff #6 against the Seattle Mariners in the second inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 15, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The Texas Rangers suffered a blow when star third baseman Adrian Beltre was put on the disabled list over the weekend, but veteran call-up Kevin Kouzmanoff is doing his best to spell the offensive drought without the team's cleanup hitter in the order.
Kouzmanoff is an experienced, professional hitter, and he's shown it in his few games in the lineup. After Tuesday's game, in which he homered and had two doubles, Kouzmanoff is now batting .450 with five RBIs in his 20 at-bats so far this season.
In the eighth inning on Monday, the Mariners gave Prince Fielder, who had homered for the first time in this season in the first inning, a free pass to first base to pitch to Kouzmanoff with runners at first and second base, and they paid dearly. Kouzmanoff hit his second double of the night to score two runs and give him three RBIs on the night.
The big question with Kouzmanoff is what the Rangers will do with him when Beltre returns. The way he's hitting right now, there's no way you can send him down, but he doesn't have a true fit on the roster as anything more than a bench player with Beltre in the lineup. And if he's a bench player, it likely means optioning either Donnie Murphy or Josh Wilson and takes away your backup middle infielder.
The Rangers have some time to figure out what they'll do, but they hope it's not too long.