Pregame notes: Profar starts fielding grounders

ARLINGTON, Texas -- In another step in his recovery, projected starting second baseman Jurickson Profar started fielding grounders at Globe Life Park on Wednesday afternoon before his Texas Rangers faced the Tampa Bay Rays. Profar, who has missed the season because of right shoulder surgery, isn't throwing yet but has been cleared to start a program in a few weeks.

“He’s not doing any throwing,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He’s able to get out there and start catching ground balls, and everything he does is underhand.”

The Rangers' plans for Profar is to have him participate in the instructional league and then move to the Arizona Fall League. Profar will not play winter ball.

“Just simulate double plays,” Washington said of Profar’s work Wednesday. “It gets some stuff working a little bit, gets his legs in some type of shape, and (he'll) start a throwing program (eventually).”

Rios back in the lineup: RF Alex Rios returned to the starting lineup Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays for the first time since aggravating a right ankle injury on a slide into home plate Sunday in Houston.

Rios, who originally hurt the ankle July 19, pinch hit in the 13th inning of Tuesday’s 14-inning win over the Rays.

“He’s day-to-day,” Washington said, “and we’ll see what he can handle.”

The plan for now is to split DH duties between Rios and Shin-Soo Choo, who also is dealing with a sprained ankle. Washington will rotate Daniel Robertson and Jim Adduci in left field. He can also use Mike Carp in left, but Carp will be used mainly at first base, where he's started the last two games.

Rios, 33, cleared waivers last week and could still be moved before the August 31 waiver trade deadline passes. Rios is hitting .293 with four home runs and 16 stolen bases through 112 games this season.

Rotation altered: Washington said after RHP Nick Martinez pitches Friday against the Los Angeles Angels, he will be skipped a start. The Rangers have two days off next week sandwiched around a two-game set against the Miami Marlins.

Washington wants to keep Yu Darvish on his regular four days of rest schedule. So after Darvish pitches Thursday against the Rays, he’ll face the Marlins on August 19 and the Kansas City Royals on August 24.

The Rangers’ starters for the weekend series against the Angels are Martinez on Friday night, Colby Lewis on Saturday and Nick Tepesch for Sunday. After Martinez's start on Friday, he's tentatively scheduled to pitch at Seattle on August 27.