ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers lineup had an interesting look for Saturday’s game against Minnesota.
The good news for Texas was that Josh Hamilton was in the starting lineup after coming out of Friday’s game in the middle of the fifth inning because of back spasms. Hamilton was at designated hitter and batting in his customary No. 3 spot in the order.
Michael Young was also in the starting lineup but in an unfamiliar spot. Young, who has started 60 games in the No. 5 spot in the batting order, was dropped to sixth with Nelson Cruz hitting fifth.
While dropping one spot in the batting order is normally no big deal, it’s the first time Young has hit that low in the batting order since 2003. Young was primarily the team’s leadoff hitter that year but also hit second, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth in the order.
His last start from as low as No. 6 in the order was June 21, 2003, when he batted seventh.
Young is batting just .234 over the past 67 games and .209 over the past 24 games. He’s hitting .266 on the season with three home runs and 33 RBI.
Manager Ron Washington said not too much should be read into the lineup switch. He originally had Young batting third if Hamilton wasn’t going to be able to play.
Washington said there are no guarantees the switch will work either. Young isn’t the only hitter struggling for a Texas team that has totaled nine runs in the past five games.
“It will provide a spark when you have other people in the lineup hitting,” Washington said. “I don’t know what spark it’s going to provide when they’re not hitting. All you’re doing is taking people who are not hitting and putting them up to the top of the order and taking people that’s not hitting and putting them in the bottom of the order so what’s going to change?”
Hamilton came in and hit in the batting cages and told Washington he was good enough to play DH. Washington decided not to give Hamilton an extra day off because he needs all of his offensive weapons in the game.
Washington also decided to start Craig Gentry against right-handed starter Samuel Deduno. Gentry normally starts against left-handers but is hitting .426 over the past 25 games.
The Rangers sent right-hander Justin Grimm to Double-A Frisco to make room for Saturday starter Derek Holland.
Grimm made two starts for the Rangers, winning his major league debut against Houston. In three appearances with the Rangers, Grimm was 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA.
“I learned a lot,” Grimm said. “I learned I could pitch at this level and be somewhat successful. I would have liked to see another opportunity but that’s how it goes. I’ll go down there and learn.”