Surprise, Ariz – The Texas Rangers are now without their starting catcher Geovany Soto for 10-12 weeks. J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos are now battling for the starting catcher role. Geovany Soto was given a one year contract during the offseason and named as the primary catcher. Shortly after the Texas Rangers picked up Arencibia and said he would be backing up Soto.
Don’t assume anything: With the 10 to 12 week absence by Soto, it would seem logical that J.P. Arencibia would be the primary catcher now, but he’s had a rough spring training with bat and behind the back stop. Arencibia’s batting woes is nothing new. He batted horribly while he was with the Toronto Blue Jays last year batting only a .194 over 138 games/474 at-bats. He had one of the lowest if not the lowest batting average for a qualifying batting average. The Rangers staff and hitting coach Dave Magadon have been working with him, but he has still struggled at the plate batting only .222 so far this spring training over 15 games/45 at-bats.
Washington not impressed with JP: Manager Ron Washington was asked about his catchers today and said he hasn’t decided anything just yet. Also, when asked about J.P. being the starting catcher, he said he still has 2 catchers to look at. He was talking about him and Robinson Chirinos. Washington also commented on Arencibia’s defense.
“I haven’t seen a whole lot of Arencibia at his best,” Washington said. (Dallas news – Evan Grant)
Chirinos likely the starting catcher: Robinson Chirinos has been in the conversation to make the team almost from day one. It was speculated the Texas Rangers might carry three catchers. Some had speculated that Chirinos would play some at other positions, but Washington said if they keep Chirinos that he would be a catcher. It looks like he’ll be more than a catcher now, he’ll be their primary catcher. That’s a big promotion, going from almost not making the 25-man roster to being their go-to guy. He currently has a batting average of .435 with 3 doubles, 1 home run over 14 games/23 at-bats. Washington commented on Chirinos.
“Chirinos has done everything,” Washington said. “We’ve got a formidable tandem.” (Dallas news – Evan Grant)
Comparing the two catchers, Chirinos has beaten Arencibia with both sides of the game. He has clearly hit better than Arencibia and has been better behind the backstop. I would expect that this is an easy decision for Ron Washington to make in the next couple of days.