Ibáñez picks up where he left off in return

September 19th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- Rangers utility infielder appeared in his first game since coming off the injured list on Saturday night, and he picked up right where he left off before he hurt his hamstring in late August.

Ibáñez’s 2-for-4 night at the plate was just one highlight as Texas defeated the White Sox, 2-1, at Globe Life Field.

“I’m super content with getting back out there and want to thank our medical staff for everything that they did to get me back,” Ibáñez said through an interpreter. “But I’m just really happy and content to be able to be back here.

“I want to thank God, number one. I went down to Triple-A and the coaches down there helped me out with some hitting and stuff and I felt really comfortable at the plate today.”

In his previous 15 games before injuring his hamstring trying to leg out a single against the Astros on Aug. 28, Ibáñez was hitting his stride, slashing .396/.429/.623. Ibáñez served as the designated hitter, but manager Chris Woodward said he wants to get him back in the field before the end of the White Sox series.

Woodward said he was pleased with how Ibáñez came out swinging aggressively, even though he grounded into a forceout to second base in his first at-bat. Ibáñez said he feels 100 percent.

“Even though I was hurt, I was still trying to go and do some work mentally and physically,” Ibáñez said. “I was trying to stay real positive and trying to get as healthy as possible as fast as possible so I could come back and help the team win.”

The rest of the Rangers’ offense did just enough to back a solid combined effort from the pitching staff, scoring two runs on six hits against former Texas pitcher Lance Lynn in his first appearance against the club with Chicago. Shortstop and first baseman Nathaniel Lowe also had multi-hit performances.

Though Texas went just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, that one knock made the difference.

A pinch-hit single from in the bottom of the sixth inning drove in what ended up being the winning run. Woodward said that while it worked out, he went to Peters instead of starter because Chicago went to lefty Garrett Crochet behind Lynn.

Calhoun has struggled with left-handed pitching and his most recent injury -- a forearm fracture -- was from being hit by a pitch from a left-handed pitcher.

“Crochet throws really hard from the left side, and obviously, we know the history Willie has with lefties,” Woodward explained. “He didn't face too many [on his rehab assignment], so talking to him, he probably would have loved to hit there, but he wasn't all that comfortable and I wanted to take it off his hands.

“It was more about Willie than it was about DJ, but it was a really good swing by DJ right there to get on top of the fastball.”

After being outscored 43-12 during the previous five games of this homestand, the Rangers pitching staff was able to hold the White Sox to just one run. opened with three scoreless innings, while recorded his first Major League win as he tossed three innings in relief.

Howard matched his longest scoreless start of the season, while his three strikeouts tied for his most in a game since joining the Rangers after the Trade Deadline.

“He was much better than the last time,” Woodward said. “I felt like he got a little bit comfortable as that first inning went on. He was able to use some of these other pitches, his curveball and a couple decent changeups, the cutter was better. He executed the high fastball with two strikes to get a couple of punchouts. Overall, he was much better. You can tell he felt a lot more comfortable out there.”