ARLINGTON -- Rangers first baseman Justin Smoak will be given the day off for the first time since being called up, and Joaquin Arias will start his first career Major League game at first in his place.
"It's a long year and you're going to have some days off every now and then. But of course you don't want them," Smoak said. "It's part of the game and I got some work in today to get ready for the game in case I need to come up late in the game."
The Rangers will be opposed by left-handed pitcher Brian Matusz of Baltimore tonight, and Smoak is just 1-for-25 against lefties so far this season. He participated in a simulated game with left-hander Matt Harrison prior to the game.
"It's always a help to see more left-handed pitching. You don't see it as much throughout the year," Smoak said. "You have ups and downs but you can't be too far down. We'll see what happens. Of course, I have to start playing better and working harder everyday and hope for the best."
It's Arias' first career game at first base, and he just purchased a glove to play the position just 10 days ago. But he's been working there for around 20 minutes every day.
"Catch the ball, man," Arias said of playing the position. "I played shortstop a long time. But I'll play whatever position ... I just want to help the team out."
"He knows when he's holding a runner off he's got to come off. But he's working on all that," Washington said. "Dave [Anderson]'s gotta do some quick teaching, although we've been over it already. But he's going to have to do it a lot more as the game progresses."