Texas Rangers Relying On Kevin Kouzmanoff And Other Reserves
On Saturday the Texas Rangers placed outfielder Jim Adduci on the 15-day disabled list after he fractured his left pinkie finger sliding into 2nd base the night before. While placing the reserve outfielder on the DL will not generate headlines in the national sporting news, it does allow the Dallas Morning News’ sports reporter Gerry Fraley to point out an interesting note about the Rangers recent injuries.
Adduci to DL with fractured left little finger. Injured on slide in Friday. Rangers ml-high 11th DL move. More at http://t.co/Zj2kT5ZpiV
— Gerry Fraley (@gfraley) April 19, 2014
As Fraley illustrates, the Rangers now lead the American League in DL moves and more importantly, the addition of Adduci bumps the current injury total to 10, which also leads all of baseball.
Forced to use a slew of backup and reserve players, it would be easy for the 2014 Rangers to quickly fall out of contention for first place in the American League West. Instead, the club seems to be doing the exact opposite and entering play Sunday are winners of seven of the last ten games and currently riding a nice five game winning streak. The club’s recent success is in mostly due to reserve players taking advantage of the increased playing time and are producing well. Behind the contributions of guys like Kevin Kouzmanoff, Josh Wilson and Robinson Chirinos, Texas’ offensive currently ranks 2nd in the MLB in team batting average (.279), 3rd in on base percentage (.345) and 8th in slugging percentage (.414).
When Geovany Soto, Jurickson Profar and Adrian Beltre all return from their injuries, Wilson and Chirinos will undoubtedly return to reserve duties and may mix into games occasionally. The only question would is, what to do with Kouzmanoff if he keeps hitting? Could the team move him into the DH role? Would Beltre consider splitting his time between third base and DH given his questionable hamstrings?
Kouzmanoff, 32, was recently called up by Texas after Beltre’s move to the DL. Through the first ten games, Kouzmanoff is hitting .395 and has an on base percentage of .439. More importantly, he has been able to drive in the runs that newly acquired Prince Fielder has been unable to, driving in nine in just 41 plate appearances.
If Kouzmanoff can continue hitting, the Rangers may have to force the career .258 hitter into the everyday lineup. That means most likely, Moreland will need to prepare to see his playtime drop dramatically as he has been given several opportunities to lock up his place in the Rangers lineup for the foreseeable future but has failed to produce consistently.