Profar gets first crack at Rangers' leadoff spot

DeShields, Desmond also options when facing LHPs

Profar gets first crack at Rangers' leadoff spot

ARLINGTON -- Manager Jeff Banister had an astute observation about the Rangers' leadoff hitter now that Shin-Soo Choo is out for the season.

"We need one," Banister said.

Jurickson Profar, a switch-hitter, gets the first chance as he was batting leadoff on Tuesday night with a right-hander (Andrew Triggs) pitching for the Athletics. Delino DeShields, a right-handed hitter, could be up there Wednesday with a left-hander (Sean Manaea) on the mound.

"At this point, Profar against right-handers, we'll give him the opportunity to lead off," Banister said. "That doesn't mean he won't get left-handers, but we have other options with [Ian] Desmond and DeShields."

DeShields was the Rangers' leadoff hitter for much of the second half last season and had a .331 on-base percentage at the top of the lineup. He was better against left-handers with a .363 on-base percentage.

"Against right-handers, there was a dropoff," Banister said. "With Profar you gain that from the left side. You lose some of the dynamic speed but you gain with the on-base."

Profar is hitting .273 with a .328 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot -- .360 is considered a good on-base percentage for a leadoff hitter and Choo had a .363 OBP.

"I did it before ... yes, I feel comfortable," Profar said. "For me, I like it because I get to set the tone for the whole lineup. I'm just going to go up there and have good at-bats, that's it."

Elvis Andrus has previous experience as a leadoff hitter, filling that spot in 2010 when the Rangers went to the World Series. But Banister doesn't see him as an option, preferring to keep him in the lower half of the order.

"I like where Elvis is at," Banister said. "He's a nice weapon to have down there."

Holland on hold

Derek Holland, on the 60-day disabled list with inflammation in his left shoulder, rejoined the Rangers on Tuesday after throwing 75 pitches in his third medical rehabilitation assignment for Triple-A Round Rock on Monday night. He threw an additional 15 pitches in the bullpen afterward.

The Rangers have not decided what's next for Holland. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday, but the Rangers are not committing to that. Much could depend on how Lucas Harrell pitches on Tuesday night. But the Rangers are off on Thursday and Monday, so they could use just four starters for the next 10 days.

"We're confident with Derek as long as he's healthy and built up," Banister said. "We've never questioned that. It's how he responds, how he feels and what our needs are. Where Derek steps in ... it will be where it's appropriate."

Holland went five innings, allowing four runs on five hits, two walks and four strikeouts. He gave up a three-run home run to Todd Cunningham in the first inning.

"I feel good, I'm available," Holland said. "I just got here, checked in and said hello to everyone. That's it, just got to wait to find out what they say. I honestly don't know."

Rangers beat 

Colby Lewis, on the disabled list because of a torn muscle in the back of his right shoulder, threw 41 pitches in the bullpen on Tuesday. The next step will be live batting practice on Friday and a possible Minor League start on Aug. 24.

Yu Darvish turned 30 on Tuesday and DeShields celebrated his 24th birthday. Longtime clubhouse man David Bales also celebrated his birthday.

Adrian Beltre's grand slam on Monday was the 432nd home run of his career. He moved past Cal Ripken Jr. into 47th place all-time. It was also his 100th homer at Globe Life Park, his most at any park.

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