Banister wants Rangers to be more selective at the plate

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Not yet a full week into his first season as the Texas Rangers' manager, Jeff Banister identifies some alarming trends that point to a less-than-selective approach by his hitters.

The manager spoke in a pregame media conference before Sunday's game against the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park.

Banister points out the Rangers in six games have drawn only 11 walks. Contrast that number to 41 strikeouts.

The problem, he believes, is not overswinging, but the pitches the Rangers are going after.

"As a whole, we need to be better at that," he said. "There are times when we've got to cut our swing down and drive in a run. Right now, I have no problem with aggressive swings."

The Rangers are hoping to utilize their speed this season, but so far, they have only one stolen base. "We can't do it if we can't get on," the manager said.

Banister made a point to credit one of the two walks that Jake Smolinski drew during a two-run inning in Saturday's 6-2 victory over Houston. "If he makes an out there, the whole inning doesn't play out like it did."

Selective pitch selection is something the Rangers are definitely talking about.

"We can work on it on the side and in the cage," Banister said. "I believe we will see improvement."

Roster moves: The Rangers optioned right-handed reliever Jon Edwards to Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday to make room on the 25-man roster for newly acquired right-handed pitcher Stolmy Pimentel.

Banister said he is looking for no more than one or two innings from Pimentel because he hasn't pitched in a competitive atmosphere in 10 days. "He's been stretched out, but I don't think we're looking at him as a starter," the manager said.

Pimentel features a running fastball.

Edwards appeared in the 6-2 win over Houston, issuing two walks to the only two batters he faced. He threw only one strike in his nine pitches.

"It was the first time he pitched in a big league atmosphere at the end of a game," said Banister. "You don't get that in spring training."

Banister expects the experience to benefit Edwards when he is recalled from Triple-A.

Choo sidelined: Shin-Soo Choo is out of the lineup for the second straight day with back spasms. "He's closer, he feels a lot better, but he's still not 100 percent," Banister said.

Choo left Friday's home opener after striking out in his only plate appearance before giving way to the injury.

With Houston starting left-hander Dallas Keuchel, the Rangers are even more inclined to give the outfielder another 24 hours to mend.

However, the manager did not rule out the possibility of Choo pinch hitting late in today's game.

Lineup tweaks: Elvis Andrus returns to the No. 2 spot in the batting order after three games at No. 7. Andrus delivered a key two-run single in the fifth inning of Saturday's win.

Outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. draws his first major league start. The 22-year-old will be in left field and bat ninth.