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Guzman, Kiner-Falefa collect 1st MLB hits

Gallo moves to LF to accommodate Guzman, Rangers' No. 8 prospect
April 13, 2018

HOUSTON -- Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman got a hit in his first Major League game, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa got his first hit in his first Major League start. The remarkable combination took place in the Rangers' 3-2 loss to the Astros on Friday night.Guzman's first hit came in the

HOUSTON -- Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman got a hit in his first Major League game, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa got his first hit in his first Major League start. The remarkable combination took place in the Rangers' 3-2 loss to the Astros on Friday night.
Guzman's first hit came in the ninth inning when the Rangers were trying to rally against Astros reliever Chris Devenski. Guzman had been called up earlier in the day to replace Elvis Andrus, who went on the disabled list with a fracture in his right elbow.
"I fell down 0-2, and I knew he had a really good out pitch. I knew he was going to try to get me with that pitch, so I tried to stay on it," Guzman said. "Never faced him before. I saw a couple of videos, so I knew what kind of pitcher he was. It's good to get that one out of the way."
Kiner-Falefa's first hit was an infield single off Astros starter Gerrit Cole in the third. It was the only Rangers hit through six innings. Kiner-Falefa had appeared in two previous games as a late-inning substitute, but this was his first start.

"They both handled themselves well and had challenging professional at-bats," manager Jeff Banister said. "It was a memorable night for both of them."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time two Rangers got their first Major League hit in the same game was Craig Gentry and Kevin Richardson on Sept. 26, 2009.
Gallo going back to left
The Rangers were hoping to anchor Joey Gallo at first base this season, but that plan has been scuttled, at least temporarily, while the Rangers deal with their onslaught of injuries. Gallo was back in left field Friday night with Guzman getting his first Major League start at first base.
Banister said the Rangers' lineup will be "fluid" on a daily basis while Andrus, Rougned Odor and Delino DeShields are on the disabled list. Gallo shuttled between third, first and left field last season, but worked exclusively at first in Spring Training.
"Fluid … that's a good description," Banister said. "Our best [approach] to the process is to stay open-minded and not be stubborn. You could still see Gallo back at first base." The Rangers are moving Jurickson Profar to shortstop, and that's where he will play while Andrus is out. Isiah Kiner-Falefa started at second base on Friday, meaning the Rangers had two players in the lineup getting their first Major League start.
Drew Robinson was in center but can play multiple positions and has started taking ground balls at second. If he plays second, the Rangers could use either Ryan Rua or Carlos Tocci in center. Rua has been the Rangers' starting left fielder, but Gallo will start playing there again now that Guzman is with the team. "I like the athleticism of Joey in left field," Banister said. "He has played out there for us before, and we know what his skill set is. When you look at the hitters in our Minor League system, Guzman is one of our most accomplished hitters when you look at the on-base, the hits and the slugging. Although he doesn't have big home run numbers, you have a combination of all of that, and defense at first base. There are a lot of pluses."

DeShields cleared to swing
DeShields, who suffered a broken bone in his left wrist on March 30, has been cleared to start swinging the bat again. DeShields began the process on Friday by swinging a fungo, which is lighter than a regular bat. The next step will be to start hitting off a tee.
DeShields has set a goal of wanting to be ready to play in a game by next Friday. That won't be with the Rangers, but he is hoping to be ready to go on a rehab assignment in the Minor Leagues. He is on the road trip with the Rangers while Andrus and Odor remain at home.
"I don't want to rush it and have a setback, but today was a good first step," DeShields said.
Centeno gets World Series ring
Rangers catcher Juan Centeno received his World Series ring from the Astros before Friday's game. Centeno played in 22 games for the Astros last season and was on their postseason roster as the backup catcher although he appeared in just one game. The Rangers claimed him off waivers in November.
"It's awesome," Centeno said. "We had a good season last year, and it was an awesome experience to be a part of the World Series."

Rangers beat
Timothy Lincecum, on the disabled list because of a blister on his right middle finger, is traveling with the Rangers on the road trip and threw a bullpen session Friday.
• The Rangers got a full day off Thursday and did not fly to Houston until Friday morning.
• Pitcher Clayton Blackburn's Tommy John surgery was performed Wednesday. He will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.