Rangers handling Profar with care
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Infielder Jurickson Profar said that his right shoulder is fine, but the Rangers are still going to take it slow with him.
Profar, who has tendinitis in the shoulder and was given an anti-inflammatory injection before coming to camp, has been cleared to begin a throwing program, but it will be two weeks before he'll be at full strength. The Rangers expect him to get his early Cactus League at-bats as a designated hitter.
Manager Ron Washington said that defensively, Profar's priority will be his footwork around second base and that he doesn't need to throw to do that.
"He can continue to take ground balls and do his footwork," Washington said on Monday before the Rangers' first workout. "If we're able to get the footwork down, when the arm comes back, there will be no issues."
Profar is trying to nail down the job as the starting second baseman, but Washington said that Profar will also play some shortstop when Elvis Andrus needs a day off. The Rangers' priority is identifying a backup utility infielder who can play both second and third base.
Adam Rosales, who is on the Major League roster, is one candidate. The Rangers have also brought Kevin Kouzmanoff, Josh Wilson, Brent Lillibridge and Kensuke Tanaka to camp on Minor League contracts.
Rosales -- claimed on waivers from the Athletics last season -- and Lillibridge can play all four infield positions as well as the outfield if needed. Lillibridge has been with six teams since 2008 and is a career .205 hitter. Wilson has been with seven Major League teams since 2005 and has mainly played third, short and second, with only three appearances each in left field and at first base. Wilson, a .225 hitter, has also pitched in three games.
Kouzmanoff, 32, has been a third baseman his entire career but hasn't played in the big leagues since 2011. He was a starting third baseman for the Padres from 2007 to 2009 and for the Athletics in 2010. During that four-year stretch, he hit .259 with 75 home runs and 317 RBIs.
Second baseman Tanaka, 32, won four Gold Gloves during his 13-year career in Japan. He had a .286 batting average and 161 stolen bases before signing with the Giants last season but spent most of the year at Triple-A Fresno, where he hit .329.
Top prospects Luis Sardinas and Rougned Odor are also in camp, but Washington said they are not being considered for the utility role. The Rangers used Leury Garcia -- now with the White Sox -- in that role last season, but Washington said the plan is for Sardinas and Odor to play every day in the Minors.