ARLINGTON -- The Rangers held City of West Night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday. The organization provided game tickets, T-shirts and food coupons to over 4,500 residents of West, Texas.
There was a moment of silence before the game to honor the 15 people that died in the fertilizer explosion on April 17. The city received cash donations from Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association, the Texas Rangers Foundation and the Rangers Baseball Tomorrow Fund Equipment Drive. Fans donated new and gently used baseball and softball equipment collected by the Rangers Baseball Tomorrow Equipment Drive to benefit the Legacy West Education Foundation. Lance Berkman also donated a fire truck to the city during the pregame ceremony.
The Rangers wore a "Support West" patch on their jerseys Saturday, and plan to raffle the uniforms to raise additional funds. It's the first Rangers patch worn other than the Texas flag on their uniform since the 2011 World Series.
"This is a huge gift given by the Rangers' organization, and it's something that our citizens need," West mayor Tommy Muska said. "Of course, this is not normal to have a gift like this with free tickets to enjoy a ballgame, but they need normalcy in their lives more than anything. They've gone through 2 1/2 months of a nightmare, and to have them smile and have some fun is important to mental psyche."
Former Major Leaguer and West Native Scott Podsednik and former Ranger Kevin Mench, who's married to Podsednik's sister, were in attendance. Podsednik said he was in Colleyville when the explosion happened, but his wife was on the phone with his mother at the time of the event.
"Most of the early news I got was through mom," Podsednik said. "It's one of the biggest catastrophes anywhere close to here, maybe ever. It was tough to put into words what that was like."
Rangers try out Profar in left field vs. Astros
ARLINGTON -- Jurickson Profar made his first start in the outfield Saturday. The Rangers rookie played in left field and batted eighth against the Astros. Profar has worked with third-base coach Gary Pettis the last month to get acclimated with the position.
"[Pettis] told me he's ready," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're going to give him a shot tonight."
Profar said they worked mainly on reading the ball off the bat during batting-practice sessions. His throwing motion is longer in the outfield, but Profar said he hasn't changed his arm angle in the outfield.
"I worked a lot out there, so I'm confident," Profar said.
Profar dealt with the sun in eyes with the 6:15 p.m. CT first pitch at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Washington said Profar and Pettis worked on shielding the sun with his glove the last few days.
"This kid is a quick learner," Washington said. "That's not to say a ball won't get in the sun and he won't lose it, but if anybody can shield that sun and make a play, it'd be him."
Washington originally wanted to test Profar in the outfield during a blowout situation. He planned to put Profar in Friday with a large lead, but the Astros trimmed the deficit in the middle innings.
"I wasn't moving my best defense to experiment," Washington said. "I'll give him a full game and go from there."
Soria set to suit up for Texas for first time Sunday
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers will most likely activate reliever Joakim Soria on Sunday for the first time. Soria hasn't thrown since Thursday, when he pitched in consecutive games. He threw just 14 pitches combined in those appearances. Soria threw seven scoreless innings in as many outings while rehabbing, allowing just one hit with eight strikeouts and no walks.
Soria hasn't pitched in a Major League game since September 11, 2011. He's recovering from Tommy John surgery on April 3, 2012, forcing him to miss all of last season.
"We're confident in his ability to get outs, and he [doesn't lack confidence]," manager Ron Washington said. "The only one that matters is his confidence, not mine or yours. You won't know until he starts facing big league hitters, but he definitely did what he had to do against those young kids in Double-A, and those older kids he faced in Triple-A. He destroyed them. He's a Major League pitcher, and he just destroyed them."
Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.