Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar was electric when called up from the minor leagues in late May to fill-in for Texas’s suspended second baseman Rougned Odor. His play was so good (he hit .348 in his first five games), Texas manager Jeff Banister moved him from second base to first base when Odor returned from suspension, asking Profar to play the position for the first time in his career as a way to keep him on the field.
The move was made because, as Banister said, “we are in the business of winning baseball games.” But it also was a message sent to two Rangers veterans taking turns on the bench to make way for the young speedster. Designated hitter Prince Fielder and first baseman Mitch Moreland were both slumping, and each player was given two days off to create space for Profar.
That decision has proven to be extremely successful. Since being taken out of the starting lineup June 6th and 7th, Moreland is batting .389 with three home runs. Prince Fielder has been nearly as good since his benching, hitting .320 with two home runs, including a game-saving solo homer Saturday night in the 9th inning in Seattle.
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Profar, meanwhile, continues to have impressive numbers. His .349 batting average is tops on the club. And with Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre now sidelined with a hamstring injury, Profar has smoothly filled the void on the corner of the infield, re-creating room in the lineup for both Moreland and Fielder. Both have responded in a big way.