SEATTLE -- The Rangers' platoon situation of Endy Chavez and Craig Gentry in center field plunges into the second half of the season. With Julio Borbon opting to have surgery on his injured left ankle, that's the way the Rangers will work it for the foreseeable future.Borbon will likely be out for six to eight weeks. Gentry started in center on Thursday night and Chavez was there on Friday with right-hander Doug Fister pitching for the Mariners. "I feel real good about those two," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "They can catch the ball, they can both throw, they both have speed and both can cover ground." They are also contributing offensively. Chavez went into Friday's game hitting .327 in 34 games and 107 at-bats. He was also hitting .340 while playing the outfield as opposed to a 1-for-7 as a pinch-hitter. That .340 batting average is the highest of any Major League outfielder with at least 100 at-bats this season. That's not bad for a 33-year-old who missed almost two years with a torn ACL in his right knee, an injury that was sustained while playing for the Mariners in 2009. Chavez injured the knee in a collision with Mariners shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt on June 19, 2009. The Rangers signed him last season, but he had multiple setbacks in the Minor Leagues and couldn't get back to the Majors. He stayed with it, re-signed and got the call in mid-May when Borbon went down. "At first, I doubted if I would continue to play baseball, but the knee started feeling better and the skills were still there," Chavez said. "It was tough and disappointing because I was playing good that year. I thought my career was over. But it has worked out." Gentry has also had to overcome multiple injuries from running into outfield walls, both last season and Spring Training. He has shown to be a standout defensive player but he is also contributing offensively. He is hitting .260 with a .325 on-base percentage and is 11-for-11 in stolen bases. He is starting mainly against left-handed pitchers, but he is hitting .343 (12-for-35) against right-handers. The platoon still remains. "Any player wants to play every day, but you have to pay your dues," Gentry said. "This is a chance to establish myself. Hopefully the day will come when I can play every day, but if not, I know my role and I need to do my job." Gentry is considered the Rangers' best defensive outfielder, but Washington said Chavez is not far behind even after the injury. "He might be a step slower because you do lose power out of your leg with that injury," Washington said. "But he has quickness and runs perfect routes. He always hits the cutoff man, never a low throw or a high throw."
Improvement all around led to Rangers' streak
SEATTLE -- During the Rangers' eight-game winning streak going into Friday's game against the Mariners, they hit .348 as a group and averaged over seven runs per game. They made just two errors and allowed one unearned run.Manager Ron Washington gave hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh credit for the offense. He gave the media credit for the improved defense. "You guys made them aware of how bad they were playing," Washington said. "That was a challenge to them. They take pride in playing defense and now they are more focused on their defense." Coolbaugh's success came after a meeting with Washington about 10 days after he took over as hitting coach in early June. Washington was concerned about the Rangers getting away from situational hitting and falling back into their all-or-nothing approach. Washington reminded Coolbaugh what he felt was important. "He took it from there and ran with it," Washington said. "He's getting comfortable and it has been working. You've got to give him credit. I told him what I wanted and got out of the way. Fundamentals are important and in batting practice he has been emphasizing it big-time. You can see the results."
Rhodes to take part in Mariners' celebration
SEATTLE -- Rangers pitcher Arthur Rhodes will be part of the festivities when the Mariners celebrate the 10th anniversary of their 116-win season on Saturday night. The Mariners tied a Major League record with 116 wins that season and Rhodes was a part of their bullpen."It's a big thing," Rhodes said. "I'm glad they are putting it on. I remember that team was really together. Everybody got along real good. Everybody played hard and gave everything they've got. Every team should do that, and that's what we did." Rhodes had one of his best seasons. He was 8-0 with a 1.72 ERA in 71 games. The Mariners ran away with the American League West, beat the Indians in five games in the AL Division Series but then lost to the Yankees in five games in the AL Championship Series. "I think all of our heads got too big," Rhodes said. "We won 116 games and then went into the playoffs and everybody wasn't as fired up as we were during the season. We let our guard down and didn't play like we did during the season."
Rangers co-owner Bob Simpson will be the 2011 honoree at the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award Gala on Nov. 10 at Ridglea Country Club in Fort Worth. The Rangers have promoted Class A pitcher Johan Yan from Class A Myrtle Beach to Double-A Frisco. Yan, 22, is a former shortstop converted to pitcher who was 5-3 with a 1.52 ERA at Myrtle Beach. In 41 1/3 innings, he allowed 33 hits, 13 walks and 48 strikeouts and has emerged as a potential top right-handed relief prospect. Pitcher Justin Grimm has been activated off the disabled list at Myrtle Beach. Derek Holland has thrown consecutive shutouts after lasting just two-thirds of an inning in a start against the Marlins on July 2. He is only the third pitcher since the beginning of the 1947 season to do that. The others were Woody Fryman of the Pirates in '66 and Ed Halicki with the Giants in '76.
Triple-A Round Rock pitcher Neil Ramirez was removed in the second inning of Friday's game in Memphis. He experienced a feeling of tightness in his right shoulder and is listed as day to day.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.