Alberto making big impression at second

Alberto making big impression at second

KANSAS CITY -- The Rangers had an infielder come up from the Minor Leagues on the past homestand and impress people right away.

Not many people have noticed second baseman Hanser Alberto because of the presence of Joey Gallo but he still had an impressive first week for the Rangers. He is 8-for-24 (.333) at the plate and adapted well to playing second base despite minimal experience there.

His place has reinforced the Rangers belief that Alberto has a high aptitude for playing the game and making adjustments quickly.

"He's above average," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He picks things up early. The impressive thing is what he has been able to put in play since Spring Training."

Alberto changed his batting stance at the suggestion of Triple-A hitting coach Justin Mashore. He has gone to a more open stance that has allowed him to see the ball better. He had a career .276 average coming into the season but was hitting .303 at Triple-A before being called up.

"I'm seeing the ball better so I have a better [strike] zone," Alberto said. "The umpires up here are better, but now I'm looking for my pitch until I get two strikes."

Alberto has been a shortstop for most of his career. He had played just 11 games at second base in the Minors and another 10 in winter ball. The Rangers, in need of help at second base, felt he could handle the position.

"He is a premium defender," Banister said. "We felt confident in our development people and scouts when they said they felt comfortable he could play second base. There is still a learning curve, but his learning curve is not that great."

Rougned Odor was the Opening Day second baseman, but was optioned to the Minors on May 11 after hitting .144 in 29 games. He is hitting .346 at Round Rock, but the Rangers also want to see improved defensive play. Odor bats from the left side and the Rangers' lineup is overloaded with left-handed hitters.

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