Semien out of Rangers' lineup for first time in 349 games

May 29th, 2024

ARLINGTON -- There was a resounding “What?!” among the Rangers media continental as the club’s lineup for the series finale against the Diamondbacks at Globe Life Field was announced Wednesday morning before Texas' 6-1 win.

For the first time in the Bruce Bochy era, would not be in the lineup. Every day, since the start of the 2023 season, Semien has played second base and hit in the leadoff spot. He’ll watch Wednesday’s World Series rematch from the dugout, with no pinch-hitting opportunities in sight, per Bochy. Ezequiel Duran will start at second base.

Bochy said Semien had been playing “banged up” since a collision with right fielder Adolis García on a pop fly during a May 18 matchup with the Angels. In eight games since the collision, Semien has gone 4-for-33 with two doubles, three walks and eight strikeouts.

“This is a good time for him to take a day off and give him a couple days,” Bochy said. “He knows that it’s time to try to get this thing cleared up, freshen up a little bit and just get him a few days. It’s a full day [off]. He doesn’t need to bring his spikes out here, I don’t want him swinging, I want him to take the whole day. With how he hit his head, the neck area is still a bit sore. I think he's doing a little bit better, but not well enough. Anyway, he’s getting the day [off].”

Bochy said he expects Semien to play on Friday in Miami after the club's off-day on Thursday.

Corey Seager has played 304 games at shortstop since joining the Rangers ahead of the 2022 season. Now, just two of them have not included Semien as his double-play partner.

“That was a little strange,” Seager joked after Wednesday's win. “But you know, he needs to just take a blow. Every once in a while it's okay. So I'm sure he'll be back out there soon.”

A modern day Iron Man, Semien hasn’t ever been a fan of getting days off in the season. In his 11-year big league career entering this season, Semien has played a full 162 games three times and played at least 155 games an additional four times.

But Bochy called the decision on Wednesday “mutual.”

“We've had conversations the last two or three days and Marcus was being Marcus then,” Bochy said. “But he agrees it is a good time to take a day. … We’ve talked about it a couple times. There’s times when it makes sense. It could be something like this where it’s a nagging injury and it's not going away. You need give it time to clear out. You may need a mental break. He wouldn't ever say that though.

Semien had started 349 consecutive regular season games for the Rangers, along with all 17 postseason games of Texas’ World Series run. His regular season games played streak is the third-longest streak in club history (Mark Teixeira -- 507 games, 2004-07; second is 482, Alex Rodríguez from 2001-03). MLB's active leader in consecutive games played entering Wednesday's action was Atlanta's Matt Olson, who's played in 510 straight games.

The last time Semien took a day off was on May 12, 2022 against the Royals at Globe Life Field. Former manager Chris Woodward basically forced him to take a day when he got off to a rough start, hitting just .165/.228/.217 over his first 29 games that season.

Semien has also hit leadoff every game of the Bruce Bochy era. The last time he wasn’t the leadoff hitter for the Rangers was on July 21, 2022, under Woodward. Travis Jankowski will get the honors on Wednesday.

“He’s done it before,” Bochy said of Jankowski. “I love his disciple at the plate. He’s got good bat-to-ball skills, all that stuff. He gives you speed there at the top of the order, can steal a base and help you manufacture runs and stuff like that.”