The Ranger offense has struggled the past couple of days, which not coincidentally has coincided with the Rangers facing a couple of very difficult lefthanded pitchers, Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon. With Adrian Beltre on the disabled list, the Rangers are now extremely lefthanded, and vulnerable to lefties.
There does appear to be, however, help on the way, in the form of Kyle Blanks and Ryan Rua. Blanks, who was placed on the disabled list a couple of weeks ago, will not be going on a rehab assignment, as planned, but apparently will instead be activated from the disabled list either Sunday or Tuesday. Blanks had been platooning at first base with Mitch Moreland prior to his going on the d.l., and will likely be in the lineup against lefties once he's activated, either at first base or in left field.
Meanwhile, righthanded hitting Ryan Rua just started on a rehab stint yesterday, and hit a homer in his first plate appearance:
Rua's situation is a little more complicated than Blanks' situation, however. Rua can be activated on June 10 -- next Wednesday -- but he is on the 60 day disabled list, which means the Rangers will have to clear someone from the 40 man roster to make room for him. Rua has also missed almost two months with a broken ankle, and so the Rangers may wish to give him more time on his rehab assignment, and wait to activate him beyond June 10.
As of right now, Texas has a three man bench -- Carlos Corporan, Adam Rosales, and Jake Smolinski. The fact that Smolinski sat yesterday against a lefthanded doesn't bode well for his future with the team -- he is hitting .140/.282/.211 on the season, in 71 plate appearances, and if Rua is activated next week, the team could end up clearing a 25 and 40 man roster spot for Rua by DFA'ing Smolinski.
Blanks will replace a pitcher when he comes back, and at some point, the Rangers will make a decision on Rua, and whether they want him to come up and be a righty-swinging 4C guy who can also play second base, or if they want him to take back over the regular left field job he had before he was injured, or if they want him to stay in the minors and get regular plate appearances.
And of course, there is Rougned Odor, who is putting up a .346/.440/.705 line -- that's an 1145 OPS -- in 93 plate appearances over 22 games since being sent down to Round Rock. If Odor keeps this up, at some point he'll be back and taking over the second base job, and the Rangers will have to decide if they want to keep Hanser Alberto as their utility infielder, which would allow them to clear a 40 man roster spot by dropping Adam Rosales, or if Alberto should go back to the minors and Rosales should stay up.
Oh, and there is Adrian Beltre, who will be activated in about three weeks, and will presumably force Joey Gallo back to the minors, despite the early clamoring that Gallo stay up.
And then finally, there is Josh Hamilton, who is out for the next four weeks, but who, when he returns, is going to presumably be the regular left fielder, meaning that there's not necessarily going to be many at bats in left field for Rua, Blanks or Delino DeShields.
There's a lot of moving parts here, some decisions that will need to be made in the next week or so, and some others over the next month. And there will likely be more injuries which may make some of those decisions for the team.
But regardless, it should be interesting to see how this plays out.