With all the focus yesterday on Prince Fielder’s impending season-ending surgery, a bit was taken away from the Texas Rangers impressive 9-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. Led by the arm of Yu Darvish and the 14 hits their offense compiled, the Rangers were nothing short of dominant. After obtaining a 9-0 lead by the end of the 4th inning, the Rangers cruised to their 23 victory of the season, getting back to one game below .500 and seven games behind the American League-leading Oakland Athletics.
One story lost in yesterday afternoon’s drubbing was the play of the Ranger’s 31-year-old catcher Chris Gimenez. Making his second start for the Rangers since being called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday, Gimenez went 4-5 (all singles), and drove in his first run of the season. It was Gimenez’ first multi-hit game since 2012 and the first game of his career in which he has at least 3 hits.
Gimenez is a career .206 hitter in 339 at-bats. In all likelihood, he won’t make a major contribution to the success of the Texas Rangers. However, Rangers’ catchers have been dreadful this season. As a group, they rank in the bottom-5 at the position in the Majors in hits, runs, home runs, RBIs, on-base-percentage, and more.
Opening day starter J.P. Arencibia was the player the Rangers optioned to the minors to bring Gimenez onto the big league roster. He had just 8 hits in 60 at bats (.133) prior to his demotion with just one home run, a year after hitting 21 for the Blue Jays.
The only other catcher on the Rangers roster is Robinson Chirinos, a 29-year old with 35 hits in 171 career at-bats (.205). While not playing particularly well, Chirinos has still been the far better option than Arencibia. Chirinois is hitting .205 with 2 home runs and 8 RBIs.
There is no doubt that the Rangers will need to get some production out of their catchers this year. This becomes even more vital with the season-ending injury to Prince Fielder. Though unlikely due to his career numbers, maybe Gimenez is the guy to do it. Picked up by the Rangers after being castaway from the A’s following spring training, Gimenez is low-risk player. There are no expectations that go with playing him. If Gimenez can prove to the Rangers that he can hit ball efficiently, he will get the chance to remain on the Major League roster and make a contribution.