KANSAS CITY -- Rangers manager Ron Washington was unequivocal. He made it clear that Jeff Francoeur would be in the starting lineup against left-handed pitchers, leaving David Murphy and Julio Borbon to share time against right-handers. "That's what we got him for," Washington said before Tuesday's game with the Royals. The Rangers acquired Francoeur from the Mets on Tuesday night in exchange for infielder Joaquin Arias. Francoeur, a right-handed hitter, was batting .237 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs in 124 games with the Mets while posting a .293 on-base percentage and a .369 slugging percentage.
Against left-handers, he was hitting .280 with a .351 on-base percentage and a .410 slugging percentage. "I'll put him out there when we face left-handers," Washington said. "Other than that, it will be Borbon and Murphy when we face right-handers." Murphy is hitting .290 with a .345 on-base percentage and a .400 slugging percentage against left-handers. Early in the season he was facing mostly left-handers while Borbon started against right-handers. "Maybe it set me up to be successful because early on I knew that was my only chance to play," Murphy said. "I had to figure it out somehow. Murphy went into Wednesday's game against the Royals hitting .325 in his past 26 games with 19 RBIs and 12 walks in that stretch. "I realize our front office is trying to do the best they can to give the team the most options throughout September and see what we have going into the playoffs," Murphy said. "I know some left-handers are tougher than others. I deserve some at-bats against left-handers, but I realize it might be on a case-by-case basis." Franceour has been an everyday player for most of his six-year career, but realizes that with the Rangers he is only going to be a platoon player. "I'm happy to contribute any way," Francoeur said. "Wash said he's looking forward to me playing against left-handers and see what I can do. That's a good opportunity to help this team anyway I can." Francoeur hit .132 with one home run and four RBIs in 22 games and 68 at-bats in July, but improved to .233 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 25 games and 73 at-bats in August. He was 9-for-22 in his last seven games before the trade. "I feel pretty good at the plate," Francoeur said. "It's been a tough second half and most of July was a nightmare, but I'm swinging the bat a lot better lately." Francoeur has been exclusively a right-fielder for his entire career. He'll stay that way. Washington said Francoeur will start in right field when he is in there and Nelson Cruz will move to left.