Rua gets chance to play in hometown of Cleveland

Rua gets chance to play in hometown of Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- Ryan Rua was first up for the two Rangers outfielders from Ohio in their three-game series at Progressive Field.

Rua, who is from nearby Amherst, was in left field Monday night even with right-hander Josh Tomlin on the mound for the Indians. Rua, a right-handed hitter, has been platooning with Jared Hoying, a left-handed hitter, since Shin-Soo Choo has been on the disabled list.

But the Indians are throwing three right-handers in the series. Manager Jeff Banister wanted Rua to play at Progressive Field for the first time as a Major Leaguer and felt that Tomlin was a good matchup for him.

"I like those stories," Banister said. "We're in the business of winning and I believe in both of those guys."

Hoying is from Fort Loramie, which is 160 miles southwest of Cleveland near the Indiana border. He played collegiately at the University of Toledo, while Rua played at Lake Erie College just northeast of Cleveland.

"Hoying will get his chance," Banister said.

Rua entered Monday hitting .284 with two home runs, eight RBIs and a .420 slugging percentage in 30 games and 88 at-bats. He also has four stolen bases after having just one in 56 games over the previous two years.

"We challenged him to play faster and he has taken that to heart," Banister said. "He's being aggressive. Last year, he was a little tentative on the basepaths. Our coaches have done a great job with him. I like baserunners like that -- confident and aggressive, trust the eyes and instincts.

"Some of the best basestealers are barely above average. Speed helps, but it's not the end all. You can have great speed, but if you can't read the pitcher and can't get great jumps, you're not a great basestealer."

Owen pays tribute to Garrido
Rangers third-base coach Spike Owen, who played at the University of Texas, was among those surprised to see Augie Garrido stepping down as the Longhorns baseball coach after 20 years. Garrido is the winningest coach in college baseball history and won five national titles, including two at Texas.

"He gave the school a great 20 years," Owen said. "A lot of wins and a couple of national championships, the winningest coach in college baseball history -- he did UT well. The next man coming in has big shoes to fill."

Owen was an All-American at Texas in 1982. He led the Longhorns to the College World Series in 1981-82 before being the first pick by the Mariners in the 1982 MLB Draft.

Rangers beat
• Choo, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, could start facing live pitching in simulated games this week. He is expected to join Rougned Odor and Robinson Chirinos in working out with Double-A Frisco this week. Chirinos, on the disabled list because of right forearm fracture, starts his rehab assignment on Tuesday. Odor is working out with Frisco while serving his seven-game suspension.

• The Rangers wore caps and gray uniforms with a "woodland" camouflage pattern for Monday's game.

• The home runs by Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland in the fourth inning on Sunday against Francisco Liriano marked the first time two left-handed Rangers hitters have hit a home run in the same inning vs. a lefty pitcher since Aug. 7, 2009. Josh Hamilton and Hank Blalock did it in that game off Angels starter Joe Saunders.

• Sunday's win over the Pirates allowed the Rangers to take two of three in the series. The Rangers have won eight straight home series since losing two of three to the Mariners to open the season. It's the longest such home streak since they won nine straight in 1993.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for since 2006. 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.