Forsythe's versatility proving valuable for Texas

April 14th, 2019

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers were two weeks into Spring Training when they signed utility infielder to a Minor League contract on Feb. 26. At the time, his chances of making the team were iffy at best and depended much on showing he could play shortstop.

But Forsythe had spent 2017 and the first half of '18 as a utility player with the Dodgers, and Rangers first-year manager Chris Woodward was his infield coach. Woodward wanted him in Texas.

“I wanted him from Day One,” Woodward said. “I knew him pretty well from L.A. I knew the person, the work ethic, the character, the leadership, all those factors that I wanted, especially for a young team.”

Forsythe made the team in what should have been a limited role. But that has changed drastically with first baseman Ronald Guzman (strained right hamstring) and second baseman Rougned Odor (right knee sprain) out for at least two weeks.

Forsythe is now an everyday player, although he will be shifting between first and second base, with the occasional side trip to shortstop if needed.

“It’s fortunate that I am part of this club and I can fill in at certain positions and help this team win,” Forsythe said. “The unfortunate part is the injuries happened, but fortunately, it’s nothing too serious and we’ll get them back pretty soon.”

Forsythe, a right-handed hitter, will likely play second base with a left-hander on the mound and first base when it is a righty. That sets up a possible platoon with switch-hitter Danny Santana playing second against right-handers and Patrick Wisdom, who swings from the right side, at first base against lefties.

Forsythe will also remain as the Rangers' No. 2 shortstop behind Elvis Andrus. Wisdom will likely play third base if Asdrubal Cabrera needs a day off, which would put Forsythe at first.

Forsythe has been an everyday player before and done well. He was the Rays' second baseman in 2015-16 and in those two seasons, he batted a combined .273/.347/.444. He was also rated highly as a defensive player, but his offensive numbers fell to .228/.332/.309 in mostly a utility role with the Dodgers and Twins in 2017-18.

But Woodward said he felt Forsythe had more offense than what he showed in Los Angeles. Forsythe also said he is better prepared to be a utility infielder now than when he was traded to the Dodgers. He also knew his playing time would likely be limited when he signed with the Rangers and joined a team with four full-time infielders.

“Most teams that looked at me had a pretty set infield,” Forsythe said. “There weren’t too many everyday jobs out there, or there were, but not too many guys were signing them. More teams were going for the utility or the platooning matchup type players. I looked at this team, saw what the potential was and what the talent was. ... The reason I signed was I thought I could help.”

Rangers ready for Jackie Robinson Day

The Rangers will join Major League Baseball in celebrating Jackie Robinson Day on Monday at Globe Life Park. Monday will be the 72nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson making his historic debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

All field personnel will once again wear the No. 42, and a commemorative sleeve patch will be added to uniforms this year with a matching insignia on all on-field New Era caps.

On Monday, the Rangers will recognize alumni of the Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars program, followed by an on-field recognition of Minority & Women Business Enterprises (MWBE) and advocacy agencies that are working on the construction of Globe Life Field.

Twenty-five athletes from the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy will wear No. 42 jerseys, line up with the Rangers during the national anthem and participate in the first pitch ceremony.

Rangers beat

• Right-handed pitcher Mason Englert underwent Tommy John surgery on Friday and will miss the rest of the season. He was the Rangers' fourth-round pick out of Forney (Texas) High School in last year’s MLB Draft.

• Woodward said the Rangers will keep their rotation in order after Saturday’s rainout and an off-day coming on Thursday. That means Shelby Miller, Mike Minor and Lance Lynn will pitch in the three-game series against the Angels from Monday-Wednesday, and Drew Smyly will get six days of rest before pitching Friday against the Astros.