Profar closing in on playing in the field

Profar closing in on playing in the field

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Jurickson Profar is close to full strength in his right shoulder and being able to play the field again.

"I'm getting there," the Rangers second baseman said Monday morning. "This week, I don't know when, maybe today or tomorrow, I'm going to do relays. Once I do that, I'll be ready for the games."

Profar has been limited by shoulder tendinitis since the beginning of Spring Training, which has relegated him to designated hitter in the Cactus League. He would rather play second base and expects to be prepared to do that by Opening Day.

"I've been working on everything," Profar said. "I've been taking ground balls. They are still the same ground balls. And I have been working around the bag on double plays."

He has also been working on his hitting. Profar went into Monday's game against the Reds with nine hits in 29 at-bats for the spring. He was 0-for-5 against left-handers.

Profar is a naturally right-handed hitter who started to switch-hit after being signed by the Rangers in 2009. But he was better from the left side last year, hitting .258 as opposed to .188 as a right-handed hitter. That represented a dramatic switch from 2012 when he hit .328 from the right side and .264 from the left.

"The year before I was working really hard on my left-handed swing and that may be why I slipped from the right," Profar said. "This past offseason, I worked on both sides very hard. You have to work on both sides every side."

Profar has been getting more at-bats against right-handers during the games. But he has been coming out early to face left-handed pitchers during their morning live batting practice sessions.

"He has been doing a good job," manager Ron Washington said. "He has been hitting the ball well. He's young, he'll figure it out."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.