ARLINGTON -- When Geovany Soto was traded to the Rangers, the Cubs were 16 games below .500 and 18 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central. Now, he's relishing the chance to catch for a contender and experience regular-season games with a postseason atmosphere."To see the stadium filled to capacity and everyone cheering, it feels like it," Soto said. "You can sense the energy in the crowd." Soto became the Rangers' everyday catcher when Mike Napoli was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left quad on Saturday. Since going 2-for-5 in his Rangers debut against the Angels on Aug. 2, Soto has two hits in 17 at-bats over his last five games. Other than former Cubs teammate Ryan Dempster, Soto has had to get comfortable with a new pitching staff. "He's a big time Major League catcher, he's not some rookie," manager Ron Washington said. "He's dealing with a new staff, but he has a feel for hitters. We're very fortunate to have him. He's done a good job getting familiarized with our pitchers." Soto has caught Dempster and Matt Harrison twice this year while starting at designated hitter last Monday against the Red Sox. He was behind the plate with Derek Holland on the mound for the first time in Saturday's 2-1 win over the Tigers. Since the Rangers acquired Soto, they have scored 65 runs in 11 games. "This offense is pretty impressive," Soto said. "Adrian [Beltre], Josh [Hamilton], Nelson Cruz, [Ian] Kinsler, [Elvis] Andrus, Michael Young -- it's pretty stacked. This is an offensive club, no doubt about it."
Dempster getting acclimated to new surroundings
ARLINGTON -- Ryan Dempster's Rangers debut this season was also Geovany Soto's first start with the team since being traded from the Cubs.Soto caught Dempster in Chicago the last five years and has been behind the plate for both of Dempster's starts since they were dealt to the Rangers at the Trade Deadline. With Mike Napoli landing on the disabled list with a strained left quad on Saturday, Dempster will have a familiar face behind the plate for his next few starts as well. "It's a hard enough thing going to a new team," Dempster said. "Then, all of a sudden, you have the guy that you've had for the last five years is there catching you. It makes the transition a lot easier. We're obviously very comfortable with each other." Dempster bounced back from a shaky Rnagers debut that saw him give up a season-high eight runs against the Angels on Aug. 2 by giving up three unearned runs over 6 2/3 innings in a 6-3 victory over the Red Sox last Tuesday. Soto, who takes over as the Rangers' top catcher, has also benefitted by having his former Cubs teammate with him in Texas. "I feel like that made it easier for the first couple of starts," Soto said. "Obviously, for the first start, we were working back there. I didn't have to worry a lot about the pitcher because I had seen him enough and he'd seen me enough. We know each other. It definitely helped." Soto will likely start at catcher when Dempster takes the mound in Monday's series opener against the Yankees.
Rangers stand by Ross through recent struggles
ARLINGTON -- With Prince Fielder, whose three-run homer the previous night sparked the Tigers to a series-opening win, coming to the plate, Rangers manager Ron Washington turned to left-hander Robbie Ross on Saturday.The rookie reliever's eighth pitch to Fielder was the fourth ball as Ross missed with a fastball that was too far inside. Ross started the next batter, Delmon Young, with another ball before Washington pulled him and put Mike Adams on the mound. Adams loaded the bases but got out of the ninth-inning jam and the Rangers went on to win, 2-1. "I wanted Robbie to get Fielder, but it didn't happen," Washington said. "He hasn't really been Robbie Ross and I wanted to give him a chance to get some confidence going. But once he walked Fielder and the next pitch was a ball, I had to go get Mike Adams." Since Ross had a string of 24 consecutive scoreless innings, he has posted a 7.71 ERA in his last 10 outings as his ERA this season has nearly doubled, jumping from 0.95 to 1.82. He's walked nine batters in seven innings over that stretch, eight of them in 3 2/3 innings this month. Ross became the first reliever to win six games in his first 23 career outings in more than three decades this season but has struggled recently. "He's been, all year, amazing," Washington said. "So now when struggle hits, that's when you become more amazing. You fight through it. I just want him to know that we've got his back. We're not going to stop giving him the ball. But he's got to start throwing the ball in the strike zone. ... He's going to have to find something inside of him, because things have gone astray, to get it back in line. You don't run from not being successful. You face it head on."
The Rangers drew 45,752 to the Ballpark in Arlington for Sunday's series finale, pushing them over the 2.5 million attendance mark in their 58th home game of the season. That's the quickest the Rangers have ever reached the mark, breaking the record set in 1994, when they drew 2.5 million in their first 62 home games.
Right-hander Koji Uehara threw a bullpen session on Sunday and is expected to throw live batting practice in Frisco on Wednesday. He has been on the disabled list since June 15 with a strained lat.
Alberto Gonzalez has been assigned to Triple-A Round Rock, where he will report sometime next week. He was designated for assignment on Friday when reliever Mark Lowe was activated off the disabled list.
Derek Holland held the Tigers scoreless over 7 2/3 innings Saturday after allowing a leadoff homer to Austin Jackson. The last Rangers pitcher to do that was Rich Helling against the Orioles on Sept. 12, 2000, when he tossed eight scoreless after Brady Anderson's leadoff blast.
By recording a walk-off RBI in his first five career games, Mike Olt joined Bobby Johnson and Monty Fariss as the only Rangers to ever accomplish the feat.
Each of the Rangers' eight hits in their 2-1 victory over the Tigers on Saturday were singles, marking just the second time this season they have won without an extra-base hit.
Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach outfielder Josh Richmond is 2-for-6 since coming off the disabled list on Friday after going hitless in his 14 at-bats before going on the DL last month.
Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.