<
>

Julio Borbon finds rhythm at right time

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Julio Borbon made a decision as the calendar flipped to September.

"I told myself I was going to enjoy it and do whatever I could to contribute," Borbon said.

The attitude appears to have relaxed the outfielder, who is certainly contributing these days. He had perhaps his best game of the season in Friday's (and Saturday's) 6-5 win in 13 innings over the Yankees.

Borbon had a good defensive game, jumping to the top of the center field wall to take at least an extra base hit and maybe a homer away from Nick Swisher in the fourth inning. That kept it a 4-1 game at that point.

In the bottom half of that same inning, he doubled down the first base line to score two runs and put the Rangers right back in the game, making it 4-3. Borbon also hit two ground balls to the right spot, allowing Ian Kinsler to score from third base in two different innings.

"Everybody looks at the box score to see what he does offensively, but he does a great job defensively," Michael Young said. "Now, he's having good at-bats and that's showing up as well."

Borbon was 8-for-22 (.364) with two doubles and three RBI on the club's most recent road trip. He managed to get a career-high four RBI with just one hit on Friday, but that's what happens when you take advantage of opportunities to score runs with productive outs.

The fact that Borbon is hitting the ball now is important for another reason: protecting Josh Hamilton. When he returns, the Rangers can feel more comfortable playing Borbon in center field and using his bat at the bottom of the order while at the same time leaving Hamilton in left field where he's less likely to get hurt. Yes, there are walls in left field too, but he wouldn't be covering the same amount of ground.

Anyway, Borbon is certainly playing better after a disappointing season and that's good to see now that the games take on added meaning. He was in some pressure situations on Friday and came through.

Borbon fouled a ball off the side of his right knee Friday, but it is not expected to swell.