Rangers phenom Jurickson Profar gets first start at third

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Jurickson Profar, who showed off his power with a home run in Sunday’s Futures Game, is sliding from shortstop to third base for the first time as a pro for Double-A Frisco tonight.

It’s a bit curious; not only do the Rangers already have a top-flight third baseman in Adrian Beltre, but they also have an excellent third-base prospect in Mike Olt playing side-by-side with Profar at Frisco.

However, Olt is currently sidelined with a bruised left hand, according to Frisco announcer Alex Vispoli, opening up third for Profar.

It’s not completely new for Profar to be taken off shortstop; he’s also played 12 games at second base this year. The Rangers still aren’t sure how things are going to play out for the long haul, given that they have All-Stars at second base, third base and shortstop. Profar certainly has the glove to stay at short, though he may never be quite as smooth as Elvis Andrus there.

Fortunately, the Rangers aren’t going to be rushed into any decisions. As talented as Profar is — most regard him as the top position prospect in the minors — he’s still not likely to be ready before the second half of 2013 and possibly not until 2014. The Rangers could have a tough call to make then, though. They currently have Andrus under control through 2014, Beltre through 2015 and Ian Kinsler through 2017.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.