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.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.