HOUSTON -- The Rangers activated second baseman Rougned Odor from the disabled list Friday, and he was back in the lineup Friday night against Astros starter Justin Verlander. He went 0-for-3 in the Rangers' 1-0 win over Houston.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa had been playing both second and third base while Odor and Adrian Beltre were on the disabled list (both had a strained left hamstring). Now that both are back, Kiner-Falefa will fall back into a utility role as the Rangers try to take advantage of his versatility.
"Kiner-Falefa will play," manager Jeff Banister said. "He'll play short, he'll play second and he'll play third. He is not going to be an everyday player, but we like what we have seen.
"I have two guys who have hamstring issues and a shortstop [Jurickson Profar] who has been playing every day. He is going to need a day or two. There is going to be enough opportunity for Kiner-Falefa to get playing time."
Kiner-Falefa was called up on April 10 after Odor was placed on the disabled list and is hitting .255 with two home runs, 11 RBIs, a .298 on-base percentage and a .388 slugging percentage. He has started 17 games at second base, six at third base and two at shortstop.
"Whatever they need me to do," Kiner-Falefa said. "I worked very hard to get here, and all the skills I've learned will help me with this role."
Odor is playing with the Rangers for the first time since straining his hamstring on April 9 against the Angels. At the time, he was starting to get hot at the plate, with six hits in his last 18 at-bats before the injury. He was 3-for-17 with two walks and five strikeouts in five games while on a rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock.
"I can go 100 percent," Odor said. "I feel pretty good at the plate. First time I was on the DL, it was pretty hard on me not being on the field. Part of the game. I love playing the game. I love helping my teammates and being around my teammates."
Utility player Renato Nunez was designated for assignment to make room for Odor. The Rangers had claimed Nunez off waivers from the Athletics on April 15, and he was hitting .167 (6-for-36) with a home run and two RBIs.
He was used mainly against left-handed pitching while being used at third, first and left field.
"Obviously it was a challenge for Renato in the sense that his playing time was not consistent," Banister said. "It's a challenge to play at the Major League level when you're not getting everyday at-bats. In the early work, we can see the raw power and bat speed. There is a skill set to be able to play third base but I don't think we were in position to give him consistent playing time and give him a real solid look."
When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.
Catcher Robinson Chirinos was back in the lineup Friday after missing two straight games with soreness in his left wrist. It's an issue that Chirinos has been dealing with since the first week of the season, and he had a pain injection Tuesday.
"That took the pain away," Chirinos said. "I'm not 100 percent, but I am a lot better."
The Rangers have Carlos Perez to serve as backup, and Kiner-Falefa has caught in the Minors. He has not caught in the Majors because he has been playing regularly in the infield, but with Odor's return, Banister said the Rangers will have Kiner-Falefa do more early work as a catcher in case they need him behind the plate during a game.
• Left-handed pitcher Joe Palumbo, who had Tommy John surgery on April 26, 2017, has graduated to throwing live batting practices in extended spring camp. The next step will be extended spring games, and the Rangers are hoping to get him to a Minor League affiliate by the All-Star break.
• First base coach Steve Buechele was absent from Friday's game to attend his daughter Amber's graduation from the University of Oklahoma. Assistant hitting coach Justin Mashore replaced Buechele as the first base coach.
• Third base coach Tony Beasley was given another clean bill of health on Thursday after getting a post-cancer examination in Houston on Thursday. Beasley was limited during the 2016 season while undergoing surgery and treatment for rectal cancer.
• Banister confirmed that Bartolo Colon will pitch Tuesday and Mike Minor on Wednesday in the Rangers' two-game series vs. the Mariners in Seattle.