ARLINGTON, Texas – Daniel Robertson and Adam Rosales get it.
While other position players have floundered when given their opportunity at playing time for the Texas Rangers down the stretch, Robertson and Rosales have made the most of it.
That was once again the case Sunday.
Both Robertson and Rosales excelled in their starting roles as the Rangers salvaged the final game of their series against Kansas City with a 3-1 victory.
The duo realizes what they’re doing down the stretch can only help their cause as the Rangers try to put together a roster for 2015.
They haven’t hurt their chances with their play either.
“They’ve been there for us when we need them, especially Rosie (Rosales),” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “I can’t take anything away from Robby (Robertson) but Rosie certainly has been getting us some big hits and he’s been playing all around the field and he’s been doing a good job. He can grow on you. Robby’s been doing a good job since he’s been here. They’ve been doing a tremendous job for us.”
Robertson hit leadoff for the Rangers Sunday against left-hander Jason Vargas and reached base in each of his three at-bats. He led off the bottom of the first with a double and scored the first Texas run.
Picked up in April from San Diego for cash, the 28-year-old Robertson hasn’t been an everyday player for the Rangers but has taken advantage of his playing time. A slow start following the trade got him sent down to Round Rock but over the last 26 games he’s a .326 hitter, raising his average to .288.
Not bad for a guy who’s lone chance to impress the Rangers in spring training was a one-pitch popup.
Robertson, who went 1 for 3 Sunday with a double and a run scored, said the biggest key for him this season has been using the resources around him. He’s working with Washington, hitting coach Dave Magadan and Gary Pettis to improve his game.
That work has paid off when he’s played.
“There are guys in this clubhouse who expect you to come here and go about your business,” Robertson said. “If you’re not, you’re not really being a good teammate. If anything on the field I’m not taking advantage of that. That’s just go out have fun, enjoy and let whatever happens happen.”
All Rosales did Sunday was double twice off Vargas and raise his average to .345 on the season. Rosales’ story in 2014 is similar to Robertson’s in that he’s spent time in the minors. But since getting promoted from Round Rock at the end of June all he’s done is hit and show his versatility by starting at three infield positions.
Rosales, who is responsible two of the six walkoff wins the Rangers this season, has 13 hits in his last 12 games with two homers, two doubles and eight RBI. The 31-year-old Rosales knows what his role is, which has helped him to be prepared when he’s in the lineup.
That preparation has led to a 13 for 32 run since Aug. 5. Rosales knows that where the Rangers are in the standings shouldn’t impact how you play, especially when you’re a player who’s not in the lineup every day.
“Opportunity is huge,” said Robertson, whose two doubles Sunday matched a career high. “Win or lose you always want to be some kind of a catalyst to the team, some kind of help no matter if you’re winning or losing. You want people to see you so you have that opportunity continually. Of course winning would be ideal.”
Those two, along with five solid innings from spot starter Scott Baker, helped create the ideal situation Sunday.