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Rua assuming everyday LF duties for Rangers

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Ryan Rua is taking over as the Rangers' everyday left fielder.

Jurickson Profar had started 12 of the Rangers' first 20 games in left field -- including 11 of the last 13 -- but manager Jeff Banister had Rua in left field on Tuesday night with right-hander Ervin Santana pitching for the Twins.

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ARLINGTON -- Ryan Rua is taking over as the Rangers' everyday left fielder.

Jurickson Profar had started 12 of the Rangers' first 20 games in left field -- including 11 of the last 13 -- but manager Jeff Banister had Rua in left field on Tuesday night with right-hander Ervin Santana pitching for the Twins.

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Rua had been getting his starts almost exclusively when there was a left-hander pitching for the other team. Now he will get a chance against right-handers as well.

"We have given Profar a long enough look, now we are going to give Rua an opportunity," Banister said. "He is moving over from a platoon and we're giving him bulk at-bats together. We are trying to get a guy and see if he can spark. It wasn't happening on the other end."

Profar entered Tuesday's game hitting .135 with one hit in his last 18 at-bats. Rua was hitting .115, but the Rangers are hoping that will change with regular playing time. He hit .258 with a .331 on-base percentage and a .400 slugging percentage last year.

"His at-bats haven't always looked that great, but some have looked like Rua last year," Banister said. "To get that look, he needs extended games to get in that rhythm."

Delino DeShields has also played left field, and Banister will likely continue to get him in the lineup against left-handers. But Rua is the No. 1 left fielder for now.

"I think they are a little different type of players," Banister said. "DeShields is more of a speed-type guy. Rua has more impact with the power numbers. I like the flexibility of DeShields and being able to use him with his impact speed.

"It has been a real challenge -- not for me -- but for those three guys coming out of Spring Training. Each one had a good Spring Training. We know Spring Training is not always indicative of what a guy is going to do in the regular season. It has been a challenge for them, pulling for each other but grinding this out."

Rangers left fielders went into Tuesday's game hitting a combined .161 with a .210 slugging percentage. Both were the lowest in the American League.

The Rangers as a team went into Tuesday with a .211 batting average, second lowest in the league. Their .289 on-base percentage was the third lowest. They were fourth in the league in runs scored mainly because they lead the league in home runs. They had scored 51.1 percent of their runs on homers.

"Where our offense is, we need to find as much offense as we can," Banister said. "Our offense hasn't been operating on all cylinders. We need to get this going in the right direction."

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.

Texas Rangers