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Soto activated, back in lineup at catcher

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HOUSTON -- Geovany Soto was activated from the 15-day disabled list and was in the starting lineup at catcher on Friday, batting seventh against the Astros. To make room for Soto on the Rangers' active roster, right-hander Jerome Williams, who began the season with Houston, was designated for assignment.

Soto has played sparingly this season. He sustained a torn lateral meniscus cartilage in his right knee in Spring Training, and strained his right groin on July 21 running the bases at Yankee Stadium.

Robinson Chirinos has started a team-high 65 games at catcher for the Rangers. Chirinos is hitting .333 in his last six games to raise his batting average from .227 to .237 with 11 home runs. In limited action, Soto is hitting .364.

When addressing the catching situation, Rangers manager Ron Washington said, "Let's let it play out. Soto in there tonight, he'll catch [Yu] Darvish tomorrow, he won't play on Sunday, and then we'll see where it goes.

"Let's see where he is before I say what's going to happen. But Robinson Chirinos will catch. Robinson Chirinos has earned where he is."

Soto has not played for the Rangers since suffering the groin injury. He had a successful five-game rehab assignment at Triple-A Round Rock, where he hit .375 (6-for-16) with one home run and two RBIs, starting four games at catcher and one as the designated hitter.

Williams struggled in his two starts for Texas after his contract was purchased from Round Rock on July 25. Williams, who was 1-1 with a 9.90 ERA, allowed 10 runs and 13 hits in a 12-2 loss at Cleveland in his last outing on Aug. 1. The Rangers have 10 days to trade, release, or outright Williams to the Minor Leagues.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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