"Let's make sure he feels comfortable with it and we feel comfortable with it before we get him out there into that throwing program," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
That's why Ricardo Rodriguez's performance was so important. The right-handed reliever made his Major League debut on Monday night and retired the side in order in the seventh inning of the Rangers' 6-2 victory over the Tigers.
"Just excited to be there and do our job," Rodriguez said. "I was excited. That's a great word: Excited."
He did so against the bottom of the Tigers order, but it was a boost for the Rangers in their search for bullpen depth. Rodriguez had to wait almost a week before making his Major League debut after being called up from Double-A Frisco last Tuesday.
Banister made up his mind on Tuesday night he needed to get Rodriguez into a game and see what he offers.
"This is a guy who started the season in A-ball and barely got his ears wet in Double-A," Banister said. "We haven't had any low-leverage situations to put him in a game so last night we made the decision to use him."
Robinson impresses in center field
Drew Robinson's diving catch in the first inning Monday was the defensive gem of the game in the Rangers' win. Robinson has started just three games in center for the Rangers, but Banister said they are feeling confident he can play the position.
The Rangers could have an opening in center next year because Carlos Gomez is a free agent. Robinson is emerging as a candidate, although for more than just being able to play the position.
"The bat makes you an everyday player," Banister said. "Some of the things we're seeing from him leads you to believe he is an everyday player. He hasn't been in there long enough to see what kind of adjustments he can make, but the raw skills suggest he can be an everyday player."
• Left-hander Jake Diekman, who has been sidelined all season because of abdominal surgery, came through Monday's live batting practice session without any issues. The Rangers have yet to determine what his next step will be.
• Gomez remains "under the weather" and was out of the lineup for the second straight game. Banister said it was an illness rather than an injury and Gomez remains day to day.
• The Rangers have traded veteran outfielder Travis Snider to the Mets for future considerations. Snider spent the entire season at Triple-A Round Rock and hit .294 with nine home runs and 44 RBIs in 100 games. He has been assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas.