While Rangers seek righty bat, Rua fills role

Club wants to see outfielder play every day at Triple-A

While Rangers seek righty bat, Rua fills role

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers' comeback Saturday night started with an RBI double from Ryan Rua in the fourth inning off of left-handed starter Hector Santiago. It was his last at-bat of the night.

The next time his spot came up, the Angels had gone to a right-hander out of the bullpen and Josh Hamilton pinch-hit for Rua.

"It was good to be able to produce in a comeback game and help the team win," Rua said.

Rua, going into Sunday's 13-7 loss to the Angels, was hitting .170 in 15 games since being activated off the disabled list June 19. He went 1-for-3 on Sunday. He missed over two months with a fracture in his right heel after beginning the season as the starting left fielder. The injury changed that as well as the trade for Hamilton on April 27.

Rua now serves as the Rangers' right-handed bat off the bench. The club's goal this week as the Trade Deadline approaches is to acquire a veteran bat for the bench and let Rua get invaluable playing time at Triple-A. His struggles this season at the plate since the injury are atypical for a player who has always produced offensively.

"I think he has handled it as well as good as a young player can handle it," manager Jeff Banister said. "He understands it's a tough role, not the one at the start of the season he expected to be in. Moving forward, Ryan needs playing time. How we get him that playing time depends on who we are playing and where we are at. He shows up every day working on his craft. There hasn't been one time where he hasn't been ready to play."

Among the right-handed bats available who could help the Rangers are Ryan Raburn of the Indians and Jeff Francoeur of the Phillies. Both are veterans who have been able to handle the part-time role.

Rua was back in the lineup on Sunday with left-hander Andrew Heaney on the mound for the Angels, replacing Shin-Soo Choo. But Hamilton and Choo are perceived as everyday players, so being the fifth outfielder will still limit Rua's playing time.

"I know … it's not what I expected," Rua said. "I have never been hurt. It has been a learning experience, a lot of time watching veterans and how they go about their business every day. It doesn't matter what is best for me, it's what's best for the team. We're playing good ball right now."

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.