Corporan, Chirinos form 'great relationship' as backstop duo

'I am proud to be his backup,' Corporan says

Corporan, Chirinos form 'great relationship' as backstop duo

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When the Rangers acquired catcher Carlos Corporan on Jan. 21, one of the first text messages he received was from Robinson Chirinos.

"I just was welcoming him into the team," Chirinos said.

The two didn't really know each other at that point but that has changed quickly during the Rangers time in Arizona. A close bond has formed between the two players, who are expected to share the Rangers catching duties this season.

However, there is no catching controversy in Rangers camp. Chirinos is the No. 1 guy, Corporan is his backup and veteran Chris Gimenez is there for depth and versatility. Top prospects Jorge Alfaro and Tomas Telis may represent the future, but right now the job is up to Chirinos and Corporan, and they have embraced the challenge together.

"Chirinos is obviously our front-line guy," manager Jeff Banister said. "Corporan has been a front-line guy and a backup. He understands his role and understands how to prepare himself to be effective. We want to give Chirinos a day off and we also want to use Corporan so he stays sharp."

 

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Corporan said being welcomed to the Rangers by Chirinos made a big difference in helping him deal with the trade.

"He has been perfect, great communication in sharing information," Corporan said. "We are always talking. We have a great relationship. The fact that we speak the same language (Spanish) helps a lot in building our relationship.

"I know my role. My job is to help my team win any way I can. I am proud of who I am. I can bring a lot to the team in my role. When Chirinos needs a day off, I will be ready. I am proud to be his backup. We have both come a long ways."

That is true. Chirinos is only 30 but this will be his 15th professional season. He was 16 when he first signed with the Cubs out of Venezuela. Corporan, who is from Puerto Rico, was drafted in the 12th round by the Brewers in 2003 and is in his 13th season.

Chirinos has played in 1,026 Minor League games, the most on the team, and 2014 was his first full year in the big leagues. Corporan has played in 682 Minor League games and he has had only two full seasons in the big leagues. They are both converted infielders, a growing trend in the game. They are both soft-spoken, polite and respectful in their demeanor.

From all of that it is easy to see why they have bonded so quickly.

"He has been great, man," Chirinos said. "He works hard and is a great teammate. We know our job is to get our pitching staff through every game. He is into that and is taking responsibility to help prepare them."

So Chirinos apparently isn't too worried about Corporan trying to take his job away.

"A bunch of guys want my job," Chirinos said. "I thank God every day I put the uniform on and get to do what I want to do. I can't worry about that, especially when you have a guy like that who only wants the best for you."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.