Rangers look to ease Chirinos back into lineup

Rangers look to ease Chirinos back into lineup

SEATTLE -- Catcher Robinson Chirinos rejoined the Rangers on Monday after missing five weeks with a strained right shoulder. But Bobby Wilson was behind the plate for Monday's game with the Mariners as the Rangers plan to ease Chirinos back into the catching rotation.

"He is an injury guy coming back who hasn't had a full complement of rehab," manager Jeff Banister said. "Just to tab him in there and have him catch every day is not the best way to handle Chirinos. We fully intend to get him back in the mix as soon as possible. He has been our guy, our starting catcher, we feel very confident in what he can do."

Chirinos, who went on the disabled list Aug. 1, was 1-for-11 in four rehab games with Triple A Round Rock. He caught nine innings on Sunday and then took an early morning flight from Austin to Seattle on Monday.

"It went good, the shoulder feels really good," Chirinos said. "That's why we went to the Minor Leagues, to catch and hit and see if it was good. It is. That's why you see me here today. It was a good idea to go to the Minor Leagues and get an idea of how my shoulder feels. It's really good."

Wilson and Chris Gimenez shared the catching duties while Chirinos and Carlos Corporan were on the disabled list. Corporan was activated on Sept. 1, but has yet to play in a game.

The Rangers, going into Monday's game, are 21-12 with Wilson and Gimenez as their catchers. Their pitchers have a 3.79 ERA in that stretch. Banister said it will be a day-to-day decision as to who will be the starting catcher and Chirinos understands he is no longer the everyday catcher like was before going on the disabled list.

"That's not my decision, the manager is going to decide," Chirinos said. "On days I catcher, I am going to do everything I can to help this team win. That has been my job from the first day of the season and it will continue to be."

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.