HOUSTON -- Rougned Odor always felt like he could get back to playing at a higher level.The Rangers' second baseman has done that since coming back from the All-Star break. After a career-high five hits on Saturday, Odor is hitting .459 (17-for-37) with three home runs and six RBIs in
HOUSTON -- Rougned Odor always felt like he could get back to playing at a higher level.
The Rangers' second baseman has done that since coming back from the All-Star break. After a career-high five hits on Saturday, Odor is hitting .459 (17-for-37) with three home runs and six RBIs in his past nine games. He went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored on Jurickson Profar's double in Sunday afternoon's 4-3 win over the Astros.
"For all that has been said about Rougie, this is a young man that has continued to battle through some challenging times after being a really good player for us," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I didn't think he ever stopped being a good player for us, it's just kind of a recommitment to, offensively, using the entire field, putting the ball on the ground, staying out of chase zones, being a little more selective at the plate, taking the walks when they're given to him. He's a guy that's put in all the work."
It has been a turnaround at the plate over the past month for Odor, who wasn't producing like the Rangers have seen in past seasons. The 24-year-old batted .203 and hit just one home run with 10 RBIs in May.
Odor hit 30 home runs last season and 33 in 2016, making him the first Rangers player since Adrian Beltre ('11-13) to record back-to-back seasons with 30 or more.
In order to improve at the plate and be the productive player he's been before, Odor said he came to the realization that he needed to work harder. He made a commitment to taking it to another level in practice and in the batting cage.
"It's not where I hit the ball, it's what pitches I swing at," Odor said. "I don't want to swing at bad pitches. [Shin-Soo] Choo has helped me a lot. Choo has a great eye at the plate and a great approach. We talk about just swinging at my pitch. When I talk to him, I feel much better."
Odor has been on the rise since making that commitment. He's batting .310 in 52 games since May 24. He has gone from hitting .171/.238/.263 overall on May 23 to .270/.342/.438.
"I feel better now. I don't feel good yet, but I feel better," Odor said. "I think right now, I'm just trying to stay with my approach. Stay focused on the pitch that I'm looking for and try to stay away from those bad pitches."
As much as Odor is enjoying his hot streak, Banister doesn't want him to forget about his past struggles either.
"I hope he never forgets about those demons," Banister said. "Obviously, you want him to continue playing with the energy he's playing with and the approach he's playing with. However, when you just completely discount what he's gone through, then he doesn't stay sharp and maintain that edge."
Wesley Dotson is a reporter for MLB.com.