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Soto to undergo right knee surgery; out 10-12 weeks

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have lost catcher Geovany Soto for 10-12 weeks due to a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. He is scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday in Dallas.

The news comes one day after the Rangers found out that second baseman Jurickson Profar would also be sidelined for 10-12 weeks with a torn muscle in his right shoulder. The Rangers are evaluating internal and external options at both positions, but general manager Jon Daniels said that catching is a bigger priority.

"We're going to look internally on everything, and we're going to have discussions externally [with other teams]," Daniels said. "We've already had some, and we're going to have some more. It's a tough day from the medical side, but it's an opportunity for some other guys. We're looking to fortify our depth and go from there."

Outfielder Engel Beltre is also expected to start the season on the disabled list with a fracture in the tibia bone in his right leg. The Rangers believe Beltre originally sustained the injury when he was hit by a pitch in winter ball.

"We've had more than our fair share of injuries," Daniels said. "You can't sugarcoat the injuries. We've been dealt that hand; nobody is going to feel sorry for us. Now somebody has to step up."

With Soto out, the Rangers are left with J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos at catcher. Arencibia was signed this winter to be Soto's backup after serving as the Blue Jays' No. 1 catcher the past three seasons. But Chirinos has had the better camp and impressed manager Ron Washington.

"He's done everything," Washington said of Chirinos. "He has caught well, called a good game, swung the bat and thrown well. I feel we have a formidable tandem to get our pitchers through their innings and give us a chance."

Arencibia hit .194 with 21 home runs, 55 RBIs, a .227 on-base percentage and a .365 slugging percentage with the Blue Jays last season. He drew 18 walks and struck out 148 times. He is hitting .222 this spring but did enter Monday with seven hits in his last 20 at-bats.

"We haven't seen him at his best yet, but we're hoping to start getting the best out of him," Washington said.

Chirinos has played in just 33 Major League games, 20 with the Rays in 2011 and 13 for the Rangers last season. He spent most of 2013 at Triple-A Round Rock, where he hit .257 with a .356 on-base percentage and a .400 slugging percentage. He missed all of 2012 recovering from a concussion.

Other catchers could be made available in the final week of Spring Training. Veteran Ramon Hernandez is not expected to make the Royals, while the Padres have an extra catcher in Rene Rivera. He is considered a good defensive catcher who can also handle a staff.

"We've got guys in camp that we believe in," Daniels said. "But at the same time, we don't want to be caught in a bad situation. With catching, you are one foul tip away from being in your second line of depth."

Soto spent last year as a backup to A.J. Pierzynski but hit .324 after the All-Star break. Soto's turnaround at the plate and his ability work with pitchers -- especially ace Yu Darvish -- convinced the Rangers to re-sign him to be their No. 1 catcher.

But Soto already had one surgery on Feb. 22 to have a bone removed from his left foot, which sidelined him for three weeks. He had been back playing for only 10 days when this issue came up. Soto had to leave Sunday's game against the Padres when his right knee locked up on him. The Rangers had Soto undergo an MRI exam, which revealed the tear.

"It's really unfortunate," Soto said. "I feel devastated, but it's something I can't control."

At second base, the Rangers are looking at a possible platoon between Josh Wilson and Kensuke Tanaka, a left-handed hitter who was brought back from Minor League camp on Monday. He started against the Athletics.

"Yes, definitely," Washington said about a possible platoon at second. "You don't want to overexpose anyone and put players in a position they aren't successful."

Wilson and Adam Rosales are both right-handed hitters, but Wilson is the much better defensive player. The Rangers have ruled out bringing back second-base prospect Rougned Odor from Minor League camp. He spent most of last season at Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach and has played just 30 games at Double-A Frisco.

"Makeup-wise, he probably could handle it, but we're going to let him play in Frisco," Daniels said of Odor. "We're going to prioritize his development and make sure he is ready. He may get consideration at another point, but we're not going there out of the chute."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.

Texas Rangers, Geovany Soto