Profar homers in first look at leadoff for Rangers
By T.R. Sullivan
SEATTLE -- Jurickson Profar had two hits off Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez on Saturday night. His reward was the leadoff spot in the Rangers' lineup Sunday against right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma with Elvis Andrus getting the day off.
Profar led off Sunday's game with a home run at the age of 20 years, 95 days. He's the youngest player to do so since Lou Klimchock at age 18 on Sept. 28, 1958, for the Kansas City Athletics.
Youngest Players to Hit Leadoff Homers*
With his home run Sunday, Jurickson Profar became the fifth-youngest player in history with a leadoff shot.
Sept. 28, 1958
May 1, 1940
Sept. 13, 1951
July 16, 1940
May 26, 2013
June 21, 1964
*from home run historian David Vincent
Washington's other choices were center fielder Leonys Martin or second baseman Leury Garcia. But Profar is 4-for-13 since returning to the big leagues after Ian Kinsler went on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his right rib cage.
"I just felt like he has the best chance of getting on base," manager Ron Washington said.
Since Profar arrived, Washington said, "I'm seeing the same things I've been seeing. He's a baseball player. He's not afraid of the game. He goes out there and plays his game. He goes up there and has good at-bats. When you have good at-bats, good things happen."
Profar was 2-for-19 in his September callup for the Rangers last season but said, "I'm a lot more comfortable this time."
This is the first time that somebody besides Kinsler and Andrus has batted leadoff this season. Rangers leadoff hitters went into Sunday's game with a .361 on-base percentage, tied for the fourth highest in the American League. They were fifth with 34 runs scored.