Notes: Nix joins the mix

Rangers notes: Nix joins the mix

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers brought center fielder Laynce Nix back from Triple-A Oklahoma on Wednesday and sent Adrian Gonzalez down to be the first baseman for the RedHawks.

The net result is that, other than the Chad Allen-for-Greg Colbrunn development at designated hitter, the Rangers are back to having the mix of players they envisioned when Spring Training commenced.

When Nix struggled through most of the Cactus League schedule and Gonzalez and Gary Matthews Jr. flourished at the plate, Texas decided to start Matthews in center field and have Gonzalez break with the club primarily as a DH.

But the Rangers haven't been hitting on all cylinders offensively, and the Nix-for-Gonzalez roster adjustment could give manager Buck Showalter more maneuverability. Nix began to pick it up in the final week of Spring Training, and carried it through the early days of the Pacific Coast League season, when he hit .333 with three homers and six RBIs in 10 games.

"I just made sure I was patient at the plate, and it resulted in some offense," Nix said.

Nix has moved past the demotion, which came as the Rangers were finalizing the 25-man roster for Opening Day. His Major League season started Wednesday when he was in the lineup against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

"It's not a personal deal," Nix said. "I'm not making it more than it is. People go up and down all the time. That's the business."

Gonzalez was 7-for-36 (.194) in nine games and admitted feeling some confusion after the short stint at DH.

"I don't know where I stand here," Gonzalez said. "I thought they were going to give me a shot to be the DH. They said they needed Nixy up here, and I'm the guy with options.

"I'm glad I started here, but I wish I had had more at-bats and more time to settle in."

Rangers general manager John Hart said that the organization continues to value Gonzalez as one of its top assets.

"We love Adrian," Hart said. "Everyone here thinks Adrian is going to be an outstanding player. But the dynamics of how people get at-bats and what Buck could and couldn't do with the lineup comes into play. This will allow [Kevin Mench] and [David Dellucci] to get more consistent at-bats."

Ramirez to throw: Left-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who has been on the disabled list with a tendon strain in his left middle finger, will start throwing on Thursday.

"Since he left us, he has been in a splint," Showalter said.

Ramirez made some significant contributions to the Texas bullpen last year, finishing 5-3 with a 4.29 earned run average.

Meanwhile, right-handers Frank Francisco and Joaquin Benoit continue to work their way back from injuries. Benoit threw 81 pitches on Wednesday in Mesa. He has battled shoulder soreness.

Francisco, coming back from elbow soreness, threw 14 pitches and fanned two in one inning for Oklahoma.

"He's close," Showalter said.

Quality performances: Veteran right-hander Pedro Astacio, who pitched eight shutout innings against Oakland on Tuesday, has three quality starts in his first three games for Texas.

Astacio is the first Texas pitcher since Charlie Leibrandt in 1993 to accomplish that feat.

On deck: Veteran left-hander Kenny Rogers will shoot for his first victory on Thursday night when he starts against the Devil Rays. Rogers will be opposed by Tampa Bay right-hander Dewon Brazelton.

Robert Falkoff is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.