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Mazara to have MRI on sore right knee

Outfielder left Saturday's game in 7th inning; DeShields at leadoff for special day
@Sullivan_Ranger
June 16, 2019

CINCINNATI -- Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara is expected to have an MRI on his right knee on Monday after the club returns to Texas. Mazara came out of Saturday’s game in the seventh inning because of soreness in the area where the hamstring attaches to the back of the right

CINCINNATI -- Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara is expected to have an MRI on his right knee on Monday after the club returns to Texas.

Mazara came out of Saturday’s game in the seventh inning because of soreness in the area where the hamstring attaches to the back of the right knee. He has been bothered by discomfort in the knee for the past couple of weeks, he said.

“It doesn’t hurt during games, more when I am just standing around,” Mazara said. “That’s why I have been getting treatment on it, trying to protect it, but last night it was hurting on the back of the knee."

Mazara also had a night off on Thursday in Boston. He still has been staying productive, entering play on Sunday hitting .304 in his past 20 games, with three home runs, 14 RBIs, a .349 on-base percentage and a .456 slugging percentage.

Manager Chris Woodward said he is not concerned, but he will wait to see what the MRI shows.

“He has been playing a lot,” Woodward said. “Every player goes through something, especially the guys who play every day. There are always going to be some bumps and bruises. Hopefully the MRI will come back clean and he’ll be ready for the Cleveland series.”

Woodward said the bad weather on Saturday had something to do with Mazara coming out of the game. The final three innings were played in the rain.

“Maz is a tough kid,” Woodward said. “He doesn’t ever want to come out. He’ll play through anything. But he kind of gave more specifics so I decided to get him out of there. I think he is fine, but I knew the field was wet; it was going to start raining, [and] those are bad conditions for a sore hamstring or anything like that. It made sense to get him out of there.”

DeShields bats leadoff

Delino DeShields started in the leadoff spot for the Rangers on Sunday. It was a sentimental move by Woodward, with DeShields getting to play in front of his dad for Father’s Day. Delino DeShields Sr. is the Reds' first-base coach.

“I thought it was important,” Woodward said., “Absolutely. I’m not afraid to admit that. ... Plus, I like Delino leading off -- it’s not that I don’t like Delino leading off. It’s a special day, being on the same field as your dad. Be a pretty cool moment.”

Chavez ready to pinch-hit

Rangers pitcher Jesse Chavez had a single in the third inning on Friday night during his start against the Reds, leaving him 2-for-18 in his career as a hitter.

So naturally, Chavez was ready to pinch-hit on Saturday night.

“See him? He was in the dugout, batting gloves on, spikes on, bat in his hand from inning one,” Woodward said. “'Skip, if you need me, I’m ready.’ Second inning, he comes in, ‘I’ll be in the cage if you need me.’ Brought his bat out, put it in the bat rack.”

Woodward had no intention of using Chavez as a pinch-hitter. But the manager loved the fact that Chavez was in the dugout having fun and keeping his teammates loose.

“We were dying,” Woodward said. “It was funny. I told him, ‘Get out of here! What’s wrong with you?’”

Rangers beat:

• The Rangers have not made a final decision on a starter for Wednesday, but left-hander Joe Palumbo is still the leading candidate. He would have to be recalled from Double-A Frisco.

• Jose Leclerc struck out two batters in relief on Saturday night. He has struck out at least one batter in each of his last 21 relief appearances. That ties him with Neftali Feliz for the second-longest such streak by a reliever in club history. Wayne Rosenthal had a strikeout in 23 straight relief appearances in 1991.

• The Rangers have reached an agreement with California high school infielder Cody Freeman, their fourth-round Draft pick. He received a $900,000 bonus in a slot with a value of $502,300. Right-hander Joe Corbett, the Rangers' 10th-round pick, has also agreed to terms.

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.