Woodward: Odor's everyday role could be in flux

Second baseman's .193 BA lowest among 144 qualified hitters

August 29th, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Chris Woodward’s patience with second baseman Rougned Odor appears to be waning as the regular season winds down.

Woodward made it clear on Thursday that he needs to start seeing more out of Odor if Odor wants to be considered the Rangers' everyday second baseman for the rest of this season and beyond.

“I have liked what I have seen the last couple of games, but he’s obviously got to show some improvement,” Woodward said. “The last couple of days have looked better, more consistent, but I need to see it every day. I need to see it every pitch.”

And if Woodward and the Rangers don’t see it?

“Then we have to make some decisions,” Woodward said. “Just like everybody else, you’ve got to be productive in this game. We are willing to withstand some lack of production, but this is the big leagues. I hate to say it, but you’ve got to be good to play every day, and he knows. He has been frustrated by a lot of things. He’s trying a lot of things.”

Odor was in the lineup on Thursday against the Mariners after sitting Wednesday against the Angels and left-hander Patrick Sandoval. Odor entered Thursday in a 0-for-25 streak over his past eight games, which dropped his batting average to .193, an MLB-low among 144 qualified hitters by 15 points. His .270 on-base percentage is also the Majors' lowest.

Odor’s swing-and-miss rate is a career-worst 30.1 percent, and most notable, he entered Thursday with a .195 average on all fastballs.

“Honestly, he has a month left to show us that he can play on an everyday basis and he can handle the at-bat every single game,” Woodward said. “That’s everybody though. No player is off of that. If you are going to be an everyday player in this league, you’ve got to be good every game. You are not going to get hits every game, but you have to have good at-bat quality every single day.”

Woodward said that he sees that daily from Willie Calhoun, who is also being given a chance in the second half to show he can be an everyday player.

“His at-bat quality is phenomenal,” Woodward said. “Even if he doesn’t get a hit, he is pressuring every at-bat. He has an idea of what he is looking for and he goes out and executes it better than anybody we have right now. That’s why he is getting the opportunity right now.”

The next step below being an everyday player is being in a platoon situation. But Odor, a left-handed hitter, is hitting .240 against left-handed pitching and .173 against righties. That's the lowest batting average among any qualifying hitter in Rangers history -- from either side of the plate -- against right-handed pitching .

“As far as playing time, I still see him playing,” Woodward said. “I want to see what it looks like if he can continue it. If it dips down, I want to see other guys as well. He’s not going to play every single day, but he will play.”

Looming over all of this is Odor's contract: He's still signed for three more seasons and for $37 million.

“That’s beyond my control,” Woodward said. “I can just decide whether I can play him or not. Contract-wise, that’s not up to me.”

Mazara aims for New York

Nomar Mazara, on the injured list with a strained left oblique, is taking full batting practice and hoping to return to the lineup when the Rangers open a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Monday.

“It’s still a little bit sore but it’s feeling a lot better every day,” Mazara said.

Mazara, who has been sidelined since Aug. 20, is further along than Joey Gallo, who is still at least a few weeks away from returning from right wrist surgery.

Rangers beat

• The Rangers' flight from Los Angeles after Wednesday's 3-0 win over the Halos landed at 5 a.m. Thursday in Dallas.

• Ariel Jurado pitched six scoreless innings in relief in the Rangers' 3-0 victory on Wednesday. He is the first Ranger to win with six scoreless relief innings since Danny Darwin on May 22, 1980.

• Nick Solak hit cleanup on Thursday night in the 10th game of his Major League career. The last Rangers rookie to hit cleanup that early in his career was Pete Incaviglia in 1986.