The Texas Rangers have optioned prospect Willie Calhoun to the minors, ending his bid to be their Opening Day starter in left field.
Calhoun, 23, had been a second baseman before being traded to Texas in the deal that sent Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers last year. Rangers manager Jeff Banister told reporters Tuesday that the organization wants Calhoun to get more outfield work in the minors.
“We’ve seen his ability as a hitter,” Banister said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “We challenged Willie to get to work on the defensive side of his game. … He’s going to be a good player, but we’ve got to do some work on the defense to complete that.”
Calhoun, who was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock, batted .243 with one home run and five RBIs this spring. His demotion likely means that Ryan Rua and Drew Robinson will start the season in a platoon in left field for the Rangers.
The 5-foot-8 Calhoun appeared in 13 games late last season with the Rangers, batting .265. He batted .300 with 31 homers in 128 games at the Triple-A level last season in the Dodgers’ and Rangers’ organizations.