ARLINGTON -- After two straight starts by Jurickson Profar at second base, Leury Garcia was in the lineup on Wednesday afternoon as the Rangers try to get by while Ian Kinsler is on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his right ribcage.
Profar is the big prospect, but manager Ron Washington wants to keep Garcia engaged because he is expected to remain the Rangers' utility player once Kinsler returns. This was his fourth start in six games after starting just four times in the first 37 games.
"Now the opportunity is here, I have to take advantage of it," said Garcia, who went 1-for-3 with a strikeout in the 3-1 win over Oakland.
Garcia knows that Profar is held in high regard, both inside and outside the organization. Profar is the one that everybody wonders when he'll get a chance to play every day at the Major League level. Garcia is hoping for that opportunity at some point, but right now the Rangers see his value as a utility player.
"I never thought about being a utility player in the Minor Leagues," Garcia said. "When they asked me to do it, I decided to take my chances and see what happens. For now it's fine."
Garcia and Profar are expected to share second base while Kinsler is sidelined. Garcia said Profar is a good friend, and he does not consider him a rival or competitor for playing time.
"I never think like that," Garcia said. "When I see him playing, I wish him well. We're friends. When I look at him out there, I just want him to play a good game. We get along well. We're always playing around and kidding each other and talking about game situations."
Burns odd man out after Wolf called up
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers made room for right-hander Ross Wolf by sending reliever Cory Burns back to Triple-A Round Rock. The move leaves four left-handed relievers in the Rangers' seven-man bullpen.
Jason Frasor and Tanner Scheppers are the only right-handed relievers aside from closer Joe Nathan. The left-handers are Robbie Ross, Michael Kirkman, Neal Cotts and Joseph Ortiz. Burns, who has options, pitched in three games since being recalled on Thursday and allowed two runs on three hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
"Somebody had to go," manager Ron Washington said. "Cotts, we want him here. So there's the decision. When you look at it, [Burns] was the 25th man."
Cotts was called up on Tuesday and threw a scoreless inning in his first Major League appearance in almost four years. The Rangers can't send him back to Triple-A without exposing him to outright waivers, and Cotts would almost certainly be claimed by another team. In Wednesday's 3-1 win, Cotts pitched two scoreless innings and struck out the side in the sixth.
Ortiz was the only other candidate to be sent down because he also has options. He is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 17 games.
"In Ortiz's case, we're not ready to go there," Washington said.
Washington said he is not concerned the Rangers bullpen is heavy from the left side.
"It's not a handicap," Washington said. "If guys are able to get outs, it doesn't matter. They all have good stuff. Cotts is healthy and throwing good. Some situations are presented to you where there are no clear-cut answers."
Perez impresses, still may need more time
ARLINGTON -- Martin Perez was impressive in his fourth start since coming off the disabled list. Perez threw seven scoreless innings in Triple-A Round Rock's 6-0 victory over Reno on Tuesday night. He allowed three hits, did not walk a batter and struck out seven. He threw 77 pitches.
Perez missed two months with a broken left arm and the Rangers would like to give him more time before considering him as an option at the Major League level. But he is one of several under consideration to pitch the second game of a doubleheader against the Diamondbacks on Monday in Arizona. The Rangers could also stay with Ross Wolf, who earned the win on Wednesday against the Athletics, or they could recall Josh Lindblom from Round Rock.
The spot is open because Alexi Ogando is on the disabled list with triceps tendinitis and has not yet progressed beyond playing catch. He is not expected back before the first week of June.
The Rangers also had to scramble because Nick Tepesch was pushed back from Wednesday's start because of a blister on the middle finger of his right hand. The Rangers are still hoping Tepesch can pitch Sunday against the Mariners.
That would allow them to give Yu Darvish an extra day of rest. The Rangers are planning on pitching him in Game 1 of the doubleheader against Arizona.
Moreland not in starting lineup, Baker takes spot
ARLINGTON -- Mitch Moreland was out of the lineup on Wednesday for the first time since April 19. Manager Ron Washington just decided it was time for Moreland to get a day off, and Jeff Baker started at first base and hit seventh.
Baker went 1-for-3 in the 3-1 win over Oakland. Moreland entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth but didn't get an at-bat.
"A day off is fine," Moreland said. "Skip talked to me a little bit. I have been playing a good bit lately and we want to rest my legs."
Washington could have waited until Friday when the Rangers face left-hander Joe Saunders. But Washington has confidence in Moreland's ability to hit both left and right-handed pitching so he decided to sit him Wednesday afternoon in front of Thursday's off-day.
"In his situation, I think there's a little fatigue," Washington said. "The way he's hitting left-handers, I'll let him have that left-hander on Friday and maybe that will lock him in."
Moreland is hitting .274 with a .452 slugging percentage against left-handers and .299 with a .639 slugging percentage against right-handers.
• Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was charged with a passed ball in the eighth inning on Tuesday night. That was the first passed ball by a Rangers catcher this season. They were the only American League team without a passed ball.
• Kinsler, who is eligible to come off the disabled list on June 2, said he expects a minimum 15-day stay on the disabled list. But he has not yet resumed baseball activities.
• The Rangers are expected to face Saunders on Friday in Seattle. That will end a run of 10 straight games facing a right-handed starter.
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.