Wash wary of Odor's potential HR fever

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rougned Odor touched off a two-run home run in the second inning that traveled an estimated 409 feet in the Rangers' 6-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday.

Manager Ron Washington said in his pregame media conference Saturday that he wanted to head off thoughts that his 5-foot-11, 170-pound second baseman should now be swinging for the fences after clubbing his second long ball of the season.

Perhaps Washington was thinking back to Odor’s final two plate appearances Friday, both of which ended in strikeouts.

The manager made it clear that while Odor is strong enough to hit the ball out of the park, there are other aspects that he wants his 20-year-old second baseman to focus on.

“We need him to catch the ball and make plays," Washington said. “I’m not excited about [home runs]. I'm excited about the way he’s playing."

Odor’s first home run at Houston on May 12 traveled 431 feet. But in the five games that followed, Odor went just 1-for-12. At the end of the slump, Odor was out of the starting lineup in three of four games.

Washington expects Odor to benefit by seeing teams a second time.

“He’s still adjusting,"Washington said the manager. “He’ll learn what they’re trying to do to him. He is good enough to make adjustments."

Moreland drops: Mitch Moreland, mired in a 7-for-40 slump, drops from third in the batting order to sixth for today’s 3:05 p.m. start against Cleveland at Globe Life Park. Moreland became a regular in the third spot when Prince Fielder was placed on the disabled list on May 22.

Washington said he wanted to give Moreland a little break and bunch the guys that are swinging the bat well. Shin-Soo Choo will bat third, and Michael Choice, who has homered in consecutive games, inherits Choo’s normal leadoff spot. Choo, like Moreland, has struggled of late, batting .170 in his last 14 games to drop his average 34 points to .276.

Plaudits for Darvish: The way Yu Darvish was able to recover from a shaky three-run third inning in gaining his sixth win on Friday impressed his manager.

Without the kind of stuff that he had in a 2-0 shutout against the Nationals on Sunday, Darvish managed his pitch count in the middle innings and gave his team seven innings.

“That’s when you see what a pitcher is made of," Washington said. “He was able to gather himself and stay in the game. After the third inning, I wasn’t sure he’d be around."