Odor closes in on playing all 162 games in '17

Rangers second baseman pinch-hits vs. A's on Thursday

Odor closes in on playing all 162 games in '17

ARLINGTON -- After not being in Thursday's starting lineup, Rougned Odor was used as a pinch-hitter and grounded out in the eighth inning of the Rangers' 4-1 loss to the A's.

On the surface, it was just an at-bat in a game of little importance for the Rangers, who are out of the postseason race. For Odor, it held high significance.

Odor has appeared in every game this season, and the goal is for the second baseman to play in all 162. If successful, he will be the eighth Rangers player to play every game in a season, and the first since Michael Young and Mark Teixeira in 2006.

"That was one of my goals," Odor said.

"I think it is important for him, personally," manager Jeff Banister said. "You don't see it much anymore. It used to be a big deal. I respect that. He played through a lot. He is not the type of guy who gets to the end of a race and walks away from the finish line."

This was only the second time Odor was not in the starting lineup this season.

A token pinch-hit appearance may appear to be a dubious way to keep a playing streak alive, but the Rangers feel Odor deserves that consideration. He injured his left ankle in an outfield collision with Nomar Mazara on Sept. 10 and never came out of the lineup.

"If it's something with pain, I can deal with that," Odor said. "I'm just going to give my 100 percent that I have every day, and if I have 80 percent, I'm going to give that 80 percent. That's how I'm going to play."

Playing every day has not been conducive to a strong finish. Odor is hitless in his last 19 at-bats and hitting .121 over his last 36 games. Banister tried to take the pressure off Odor by dropping him to the bottom of the order, but that hasn't helped.

Odor's .203 batting average is the lowest among qualified batters in the American League. He has 30 home runs, but also 158 strikeouts and just 32 walks.

"I don't really care about the strikeouts and the walks," Odor said. "I just go up there to hit. I'm not thinking about walks, I don't think about strikeouts. Obviously, if they don't throw me anything to hit, I'm going to take the walk. But I just go there to hit, and that's what I like to do."

Odor received a six-year, $49.5 million contract extension this past spring, but said he has not put pressure on himself to live up to the expectations.

"I'm playing like I always played. I don't change anything because I signed a deal with the Rangers," Odor said. "I always played because I love this game, I don't play for the money."

The goal is to play to the end. The Rangers feel he has earned that right.

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.