Rangers-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

If the Texas Rangers are to continue their current surge, they might have to do so without another key contributor.

It's uncertain if leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo will be available when the visiting Rangers try for a seventh win in eight games Tuesday night against the Oakland Athletics.

The Rangers are already without Adrian Beltre (quad), Jurickson Profar (shoulder) and Geovany Soto (knee), and Choo could miss this game after he injured his ankle while trying to beat out a grounder in the seventh inning of Monday's 4-3 win in the series opener.

Choo, who led off the game with his second home run, is batting .360 in his last seven games overall and .450 in his last six away from home. X-rays were negative, but he's expected to have an MRI exam Tuesday.

''We have a long season, it's April,'' Choo said. "I don't want to make it worse."

Despite the long list of players on the disabled list that also includes starting pitchers Matt Harrison (back), Joe Saunders (ankle) and Tanner Scheppers (elbow), Texas (12-8) has fared well and rebounded after its five-game winning streak ended with a 16-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Kevin Kouzmanoff was one of three Rangers with two hits Monday and scored the tiebreaking run in the eighth on a single by fellow former Athletic Donnie Murphy. With Beltre out, Kouzmanoff is batting .370 with 10 RBIs in 12 games since he was called up from Triple-A Round Rock on April 9.

Teammate Prince Fielder is 9 for 15 with six RBIs in his last four regular-season games at Oakland after going 0 for 18 with six strikeouts in his first four there.

Fielder is 2 for 6 during the regular season against Oakland starter Tommy Milone (0-1, 4.09 ERA), who is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA in six starts against the Rangers.

The left-hander, who will be making his first home start, allowed three runs in six innings of a 5-4, 12-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.

Coming off a home sweep of Houston, the A's (13-6) won 11 of 13 before blowing a 3-1 lead Monday to see a four-game winning streak against Texas come to an end.

Coco Crisp, who had three hits with two RBIs, is batting .379 (11 for 29) with nine RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak at home against the Rangers.

Nick Martinez (0-0, 4.50) will be recalled from the minors to make this start and replace Scheppers in the Rangers' rotation.

The right-hander allowed three runs on two homers and gave up two other hits in six innings of a 5-4 loss at Tampa Bay in his major league debut April 5. He was sent down the next day to Double-A Frisco, where he posted a 1.86 ERA without a decision over two starts.

"The guy did a heckuva job, first time starting (against the Rays)," manager Ron Washington told the Rangers' official website. "I hope when he gets back up here, he can build off it."

Regardless if Choo is healthy, ex-Oakland outfielder Michael Choice will start Tuesday. Choice, acquired from the A's in December, went 1 for 1 after replacing Choo.

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