The news that the Texas Rangers anticipated was coming arrived Friday, when it was determined that first baseman Ronald Guzman needs season-ending surgery on his left knee.
Guzman was injured April 12 on the lousy turf at Tropicana Field. He will undergo surgery to repair torn cartilage Wednesday, the same day prospect Sam Huff has microscopic surgery on his right knee.
Huff’s procedure is simple and his future is still pretty clear. The same can’t be said for Guzman, who will be eligible for arbitration next season and is running out of places to play.
Nate Lowe looks to have first base locked up, and the Rangers have stumbled upon a player who can play all three outfield spots and hit for power.
He was at it again Friday night.
Garcia powers up again
Adolis Garcia has played 10 games since being called up to replace Guzman on the roster, and already he leads the majors in home runs by a rookie with five.
Garcia went deep twice against the White Sox, the first a three-run homer that trimmed the White Sox’s lead to 6-5. The Rangers eventually tied the game, only to see the White Sox score three times against Kyle Cody in the seventh and eighth innings.
Garcia had another swing in him. He was the only hitter to put the ball in play against Chicago closer Liam Hendriks, who hung a slider and watched Garcia yank it out to left field to provide the final score.
“It’s always great to hit two home runs in one game,” Garcia said. “I’m pretty content doing that, except it’s not good when the team loses.”
The home runs don’t feel as good because for the first time his power display didn’t come in a Rangers win, but Garcia’s start to his season still feels remarkable.
Teams don’t have a ton of information on Garcia, which is helping his cause, but Hendriks doesn’t really need a book. Others, though, do, and they will have one on Garcia sooner than later.
The test for Garcia then becomes if he can stay consistent once pitchers can start attacking the holes in his swing. Manager Chris Woodward has said that after every time Garcia has done something to help the team win, which is basically every other day.
He gets to study scouting reports, too.
“I depend on a lot of that information from our coaches and the scouting reports,” Garcia said. “I pay a lot of attention to those things knowing I have not faced any of those pitchers.”
Right-hander Dane Dunning was looking forward to his start Friday against the team that traded him to the Rangers.
He wanted to face his told teammates, many of whom he remains friendly with, and also wanted to show White Sox brass how smart the Rangers were for acquiring him.
That’s how Dunning phrased, not what he probably wanted to say, like what a bunch of clowns the White Sox were for trading him.
For two scoreless innings, he was making his case.
Then came the third, when the White Sox singled him into submission. Dunning didn’t finish the inning, allowing five runs on seven hits. Six were singles, and the other was a ground-rule double that might have been misplayed by Garcia.
It doesn’t matter. Dunning was kicking himself afterward.
“I’m definitely disappointed with my outing,” he said. “I didn’t command the breaking ball at all. That was the biggest thing, falling behind too many counts.”
It was the first bump in the road this season for Dunning, who entered the game with a sparkling 0.60 ERA. It jumped to 3.06, but he did not factor in the decision after the Rangers erased deficits of 5-0 and 6-2.
Kiner-Falefa move a hit
Score one for the manager.
Woodward dropped Isiah Kiner-Falefa out of the leadoff spot for the first time this season, though only one spot to second, and the shortstop responded with a three-hit game and the game-tying RBI in the sixth inning.
Kiner-Falefa has rebounded from an 0-for-19 skid the past three games, going 6 for 15. The right-handed hitter will be back in the leadoff spot Saturday against White Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel.
But Woodward sensed that Kiner-Falefa had been pressing atop the lineup, so he inserted Willie Calhoun there against right-hander Dylan Cease. Calhoun might not be the prototypical leadoff hitter, but, like fellow lefty hitter Shin-Soo Choo, he has the ability to put a run on the board with one swing as the game’s first hitter.
Calhoun went 1 for 4 with a walk. He could be back in the leadoff Sunday against righty Lucas Giolito.
Not everything came up aces for Woodward on Friday. He stuck with Cody for the seventh and eighth after the rookie tossed a clean sixth inning. Though built to pitch multiple innings, Cody was coming off a rough outing Tuesday at Anaheim.
The Rangers could have turned to righty Brett de Geus or lefties John King and Joely Rodriguez, who have been running better than Cody.
Woodward, though, wasn’t unhappy with how Cody pitched. Cody, though, didn’t pitch well enough.