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Rangers notes: Marcus Semien returns as Josh Smith sits

(Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports)

 

ARLINGTON — Marcus Semien wasn’t going to get two days off, manager Bruce Bochy said.

The second baseman had his second of the season Thursday, and that’s already more than he wants.

It just so happened, though, that infielder Josh Smith needed the day Friday and Semien would have had to play even if he’d been off.

Smith is dealing with the same issue as last month, some discomfort in his left glute.

“My left butt cheek,” he said.

The day off shouldn’t come as a surprise after what unfolded late in Thursday’s game. Head athletic trainer Matt Lucero visited Smith on the field after a sprint to first base, and Smith later had to spring back to make a terrific over-the-shoulder catch in shallow left field in the ninth.

The good news is that he doesn’t expect to need much time off.

“I don’t think it’s anything too serious,” he said.

The slumping Semien said that he went through his normal pregame routine in case he was needed, and he was on the on-deck circle to pinch hit when the game ended.

The solution to his issues at the plate — he entered Friday in a 6-for-68 slide — is the same as the rest of the lineup.

“We need to work on ways to score more runs, whether it’s hitting for power or grinding out at-bats a little bit better,” Semien said. “Those are things I’m working on myself.”

 

Dunning, Sborz swap

Right-hander Dane Dunning was played on the 15-day injured list Friday for the second time this season, this time with right shoulder discomfort. The stay is expected to be a short one, Bochy said, and Dunning could be reinstated shortly after the All-Star break.

Taking his place on the active roster and in the bullpen was right-hander Josh Sborz, who was sidelined for nearly two months because of a strained rotator cuff. It was his second such injury of the season, and he admits that he came back too soon from the first one.

“I wanted to pitch,” he said.

He had an extended rehab assignment with Triple A Round Rock, which ended Wednesday with him retiring four batters on only 12 pitches. Sborz checked off all the boxes, he said, despite not having his best velocity.

He’s hoping the adrenaline of pitching in a big-league game will help get him back into the upper 90s after sitting at 93-95 mph on assignment.

“The shapes were great, it’s coming out well, the reaction of the hitters was fine, so I’m comfortable with it,” Sborz said. “The top end’s not there. It’s not 90, but it’s not where I’d prefer it to be.”

Ureña’s role

Right-hander Jose Ureña tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings Thursday behind Max Scherzer, escaping trouble in instance and dominating in others.

While he’s been a starter most of his major-league career, Urena could morph into an option for the seventh inning or both the sixth and the seventh.

“He’s got good poise out there with men on and his ability to keep his focus,” Bochy said. “He’s done a terrific job starting and relieving, and he is one of our guys.”

Ureña made the team as a non-roster invite at a time when the Rangers were short on rotation depth. He made his first start in May at Oakland and filled in admirably for Nathan Eovaldi for nearly a month.

Ureña’s fastball has reached as high as 98 mph out of the bullpen.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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