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Rosales giving Rangers something to think about

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers' late-season surge has had an unlikely hero. Adam Rosales, who spent the first half of the season languishing in Triple-A, has become one of the Rangers' most valuable players.

Rosales also has been one of the more versatile players, being able to fill in at all four infield positions. But right now, he has become the Rangers' regular first baseman while they look at Ryan Rua in the outfield.

"Since he got back from Triple-A, he has brought a lot of versatility and being able to play first base is huge," manager Tim Bogar said about Rosales. "His athleticism is great, it's like having a shortstop play first base. I just like the way he is going about his business. He brings a lot of energy and has infused some life into the guys around him."

Rosales also is hitting. Entering Saturday's game against the Angels, Rosales had hit .304 with a .376 on-base percentage and a .438 slugging percentage since Aug. 1. He also was hitting .346 with runners in scoring position in that span.

That's pretty good for a 31-year-old utility player who had a career .219 batting average with a .287 on-base percentage and a .335 slugging percentage coming into the season. This is a guy who has played in 344 Triple-A games over the past six seasons.

"It has been a really good learning experience for me," Rosales said. "I'm embracing the opportunity of playing every day. Being able to play well and make small adjustments means a lot to me. This is what I have always done, be malleable and able to adapt to whatever situation I'm put into."

Rosales will finish the season with approximately five years of Major League service, meaning he will be one of six Rangers eligible for arbitration in the offseason. Like just about every player the Rangers have, there is some uncertainty about his future with the team. He is a player the Rangers like, but just one of many in the mix for 2015.

Rosales is not going to be the Rangers' starting first baseman . At least they hope not. The Rangers are expecting Prince Fielder to be back and fully recovered from his season-ending neck surgery. Rosales' best role is as a utility infielder, but the Rangers also will have Luis Sardinas and Jurickson Profar back.

Profar has missed the entire season with a torn muscle in his right shoulder. If he is healthy in Spring Training, the Rangers may prefer him playing in Triple-A to make up for lost time. Sardinas is still a good prospect, but the Rangers may prefer him playing regularly at Triple-A rather than backing up shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Rougned Odor.

The Rangers may find a spot for Rosales even with all their highly regarded middle-infield prospects. Rosales admitted he has wondered what might happen next year.

"We all do, obviously," Rosales said. "It's our career. To have the opportunity to stay with the Rangers would be awesome. I know what kind of club we are. This has been a different year, but there is so much potential and a lot of excitement for next year."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.
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