Rangers’ Soto out 10-12 weeks with knee injury

Texas Rangers catcher Geovany Soto has a tear in his left knee that will sideline him for 10 to 12 weeks. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)
March 24, 2014, 12:50 PM

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Texas catcher Geovany Soto has a tear in his right knee that will sideline him for 10 to 12 weeks, the latest injury setback for the Rangers.

A day after Soto’s knee locked up and forced him to leave a game against San Diego in the second inning, the Rangers said Monday was out for a while. He will have surgery on Wednesday to repair torn cartilage.

On Sunday, the team announced that second baseman Jurickson Profar would miss at least 10 weeks with a torn muscle in his right shoulder.

“We’ve lost two everyday players and there is no way to sugarcoat that,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Monday. “It is what it is. We’ll look towards our depth and see where we go from here.”

This will be Soto’s second surgery this spring training. He had a procedure on his left foot on Feb. 22 and had played in only six exhibition games, going 4 for 12.

Soto hit .245 in 54 games in 2013 with Texas.

“It’s really unfortunate,” Soto said. “I feel devastated, but it’s something I can’t control.”

With Soto out, J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos are the top candidates to start at catcher.

Arencibia hit .194 in 138 games last season with Toronto. Chirinos spent most of last season with Triple-A Round Rock, and also hit .179 in 13 games with Texas.

“I haven’t decided yet,” manager Ron Washington said. “Right now I’ve got him and Chirinos.”

When asked about Arencibia’s defence, Washington replied, “I haven’t seen a whole lot of Arencibia at his best.”

Chirinos has hit .435 in spring training, but has only 23 at-bats.

The Rangers continue to explore options to find a replacement for Profar.

Texas brought back lefty-hitting infielder Kensuke Tanaka and started him at second base against Oakland on Monday.

The 32-year-old Tanaka had been assigned to the minor league camp on March 17. He has only 30 at-bats in the majors after playing 13 years in Japan.

Another possibility is journeyman Josh Wilson, who is hitting .261 in 21 games. Wilson, like Tanaka, is in camp on a minor league contract.

Wilson, who turns 33 Wednesday, has a .225 career average in 386 games in the majors with Florida, Washington, Tampa Bay, Arizona, San Diego, Seattle and Milwaukee. He hit .200 in 30 games last season with the Diamondbacks.

Daniels acknowledged the Rangers have already begun to delve into possibilities outside the organization to strengthen the two positions.

The Rangers also said reserve outfielder Engel Beltre will start the season on the disabled list with a fractured right shin.

Beltre was hit by a pitch in that area during winter ball in the Dominican Republic. He played in 15 exhibition games, but with increasing discomfort in recent days.

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