Choo, Hoying in; Rangers go with 7-man ALDS 'pen

Choo, Hoying in; Rangers go with 7-man ALDS 'pen

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister wanted a defensive outfielder with speed off the bench for the American League Division Series against the Blue Jays. So Jared Hoying landed on Texas' postseason roster.

Hoying will serve as a defensive replacement for Shin-Soo Choo, who was also included on the roster. Hoying will also be used as a pinch-runner, and he was taken instead of Delino DeShields. Banister said it was because of Hoying's overall defensive ability, as opposed to DeShields' speed and basestealing potential.

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 6 TOR 10, TEX 1 video
Gm 2 Oct. 7 TOR 5 TEX 3 video
Gm 3 Oct. 9 TOR 7, TEX 6 (10) video

"We felt like the basestealing option is a one-shot deal," Banister said before Thursday's Game 1 (4:30 p.m. ET/3:30 CT on TBS, as well as Sportsnet (English) and TVA (French) in Canada). "There are no guarantees you will get that option. The defensive option is multiple innings."

Choo was in the lineup for Game 1, batting ninth and playing right field. He was 2-for-12 in the final three games of the regular season after missing six weeks with a broken left forearm.

"I go back to trust in the person, what I know and what I have seen," Banister said. "It's not a perfect situation, but sometimes you have to make a bold decision."

Choo played in just 48 games this season because of multiple injuries, and he batted .242 with seven home runs, 17 RBIs, a .357 on-base percentage and a .399 slugging percentage in 178 at-bats.

The Rangers decided on the final roster Wednesday night. Choo didn't know until he saw his name on the lineup card posted in the clubhouse on Thursday.

"I know what happened this year with all the injuries," Choo said. "I really appreciate the trust that Banister, [general manager] Jon Daniels and all these people showed in me. I really appreciate that. Now it's just up to me to go out there and do my best. I'm batting ninth, that's really an important spot in the lineup."

Hoying is on a five-man bench that includes catcher Robinson Chirinos, infielder Jurickson Profar, and outfielders Nomar Mazara and Ryan Rua. The Blue Jays are starting left-hander J.A. Happ in Game 2, so Rua, a right-handed hitter, could start instead of Mitch Moreland at first base.

Hoying's tough catch ends game

"It's huge," Hoying said. "This is what you play for. This is what you grow up playing for when you're a little kid. When you're playing in the backyard, you're always dreaming about playing postseason baseball. It's such a dream come true. But we have one goal in mind, and that's to win [the World Series]."

DeShields, who was the Rangers' Opening Day center fielder, was 7-for-24 (.292) in the ALDS last year against the Blue Jays.

"Given what I did last year in the playoffs, I didn't think I'd be inactive," DeShields said. "I figured I'd be on the bench or something. It's a little bit of a surprise. I won't accept it mentally; that's just who I am. I don't feel good about it. But it's October baseball, and it's all about winning. I'm going to be a team guy and support the guys we have out there, and hopefully, we go win the World Series."

The Rangers' decision to go with a seven-man bullpen meant right-hander Tanner Scheppers and left-hander Derek Holland were not on the roster. Instead, the 'pen includes closer Sam Dyson, right-handers Matt Bush, Keone Kela, Tony Barnette and Jeremy Jeffress, and left-handers Jake Diekman and Alex Claudio.

"Again, this is just the first stage," Banister said. "But that's where we're at."

Mazara sits in Game 1
With Choo in the lineup, rookie Mazara was on the bench for Game 1. Mazara played in 145 games for the Rangers this season and batted .266 with 20 home runs, 64 RBIs and a .419 slugging percentage.

"Nomar is a good player, and he is going to be a tremendous player," Banister said. "He is going to play a big role for us. He'll do something for us to make us extremely thankful he's [on the roster]."

Mazara's 438-foot home run

Choo was in right field with Carlos Gomez in left and Carlos Beltran at designated hitter. Banister decided to go with Choo based on his on-base percentage and experience. Choo was 5-for-21 with a home run against the Blue Jays in last year's ALDS.

"I'm betting on the on-base," Banister said. "I know this is a different year and a different series, but Choo performed very good last year down the stretch and in the playoffs."

Beltre is Rangers' nominee for Aaron Award
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre put together one of the better age-37-or-older seasons in Major League history this year, and on Thursday, he was named the Rangers' nominee for the Hank Aaron Award. The Hank Aaron Award, which was established in 1999, recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each league.

Beltre ended the regular season with a .300 average, 32 home runs and 104 RBIs. He became just the eighth player in the modern era to bat at least .300 with 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs in an age 37-or-older season.

Beltre homers twice in win

"That means I've been able to stay healthy for a long time and I've been able to help my ballclub," Beltre said on the final day of the regular season. "Hopefully I can continue to keep putting up those types of numbers, especially in the postseason."

Beltre -- who had at least a .300 average, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs for the fourth time in his career -- was one of four players in the Majors to reach those marks this season. He joined Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, and Mookie Betts and David Ortiz of the Red Sox. Beltre also led the AL with a .349 average in the seventh inning or later.

Fans can vote for the winner of the Hank Aaron Award through Oct. 14 on MLB.com and, for the first time, on Twitter -- using designated unique hashtags. A special Hall of Fame panel, led by Aaron, will also place votes for the award.

Rangers beat
Colby Lewis and Martin Perez will be the Rangers' No. 3 and 4 starters for the ALDS, but they have not announced when they will pitch. Banister has not ruled out bringing back Cole Hamels in Game 4 on three days' rest, but he admitted it is not an optimum scenario.

A.J. Griffin, Texas' fifth starter during the season, did not make the ALDS roster. But the Rangers want him to continue throwing in case of injury to one of their other starters.

• Griffin, Holland, Scheppers, DeShields, infielder Hanser Alberto and catcher Brett Nicholas will travel with the Rangers during the postseason. Pitchers Nick Martinez, Dario Alvarez, Jose LeClerc and Andrew Faulkner and infielder Joey Gallo are working out in Surprise, Ariz., in case they are needed.

The roster is as follows:

Pitchers (11)
Barnette
Bush
Claudio
Yu Darvish
Diekman
Dyson
Hamels
Jeffress
Kela
Lewis
Perez

Catchers (2)
Chirinos
Jonathan Lucroy

Infielders (5)
Elvis Andrus
Beltre
Moreland
Rougned Odor
Profar

Outfielders (7)
Beltran
Choo
Ian Desmond
Gomez
Hoying
Mazara
Rua

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. Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.