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Profar, Puig to start season in Minors03/26/2013 7:38 PM ET
By Jake Seiner / Special to MLB.com
At some point in the near future, Rangers manager Ron Washington likely will be faced with a welcome conundrum. With Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler penciled in around the infield, where is Jurickson Profar going to play?
On Tuesday, the Rangers bought Washington extra time to ponder that dilemma by sending MLB.com's top overall prospect to Triple-A Round Rock to begin the season.
The Rangers also announced that right-hander Nick Tepesch -- the team's No. 18 prospect -- will open the year as their No. 5 starter and No. 19 prospect Leury Garcia earned a spot on the Opening Day roster as a utility infielder, the spot for which Profar was vying.
Garcia, a switch-hitter who can play both middle infield spots and the outfield, impressed the Rangers during camp with his ability and flexibility. His speed figures to make him a valuable bench piece -- he stole 31 bases with Double-A Frisco last season. The move also allows Profar to play every day with Round Rock after the 20-year-old shortstop batted .244 with just two extra-base hits in 21 Cactus League games.
"We like both guys a lot," general manager Jon Daniels told MLB.com. "Both guys are very versatile -- two switch-hitting guys who both play up the middle. We just thought for where they are, Leury brings a speed element off the bench and he brings an outfield element. He just has a unique skill set."
Tepesch made three spring starts for the Rangers. He surrendered eight earned runs over five innings against Colorado on March 22, but the University of Missouri product has been otherwise solid in 18 spring innings.
"It was a mix of everything," Daniels said of the decision to put Tepesch in the rotation. "Nick has impressed. We knew he was a strike-thrower and had a four-pitch mix, but we were really impressed with the way he handled situations and the way he handled adversity. He didn't change. He earned it."
Puig headed to Chattanooga
If ever a player had a Spring Training worthy of a promotion from the lower Minor Leagues to the Majors, it was the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig.
Unfortunately, a .526 Cactus League batting average wasn't enough for the 22-year-old Cuban outfielder to force his way onto the Opening Day roster as the Dodgers optioned him to Double-A Chattanooga Tuesday.
Puig has drawn effusive praise after Los Angeles' top prospect dominated the Cactus League with a 1.351 OPS over 26 games.
"It's kind of getting goofy," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told MLB.com over the weekend about Puig's Spring performance. "It's almost like a big kid playing Little League."