Kinsler heads to Arizona for rehab stint
Club wants injured second baseman in game situations
BOSTON -- Second baseman Ian Kinsler is not 100 percent, but he is headed to Arizona in his next step to get back on the field.
Kinsler, who has been sidelined since March 12 with a sprained right ankle, flew to Arizona on Wednesday night and will be there through the weekend as he begins playing in extended spring training games.
Kinsler will start out as a designated hitter in a game on Thursday and then work his way into the field. Extended spring games are like "B" games in March. There are no specific regulations governing lineups, so Kinsler can bat leadoff every inning, play the field when he wants to and be used at designated hitter if needed.
That's why Kinsler is starting out in Arizona. Sometime next week, he could join either Double-A Frisco or Triple-A Oklahoma City on a medical rehabilitation assignment and possibly be activated by the Rangers on their next road trip to Seattle and Oakland from April 30 to May 5.
"He's been out five weeks," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We're not going to make up for lost time, but we want to get him in as many game situations as possible. We're not putting a definite timeline on it. We want him to get at-bats, get some games in at second base, build up endurance and continue to get his work in."
Kinsler went through another extensive workout at Fenway Park before Wednesday's game. Kinsler still feels the ankle when he is accelerating and stopping while running the bases, but the Rangers think it's time to get him to Arizona for some games.
"If we wait until he's 100 percent, he may never get there," manager Ron Washington said. "He's got to go out and see what he can do. We have to find out what level he can play. He's going to be OK."
Rangers mull problems, options in 'pen
BOSTON -- Rangers relievers went into Wednesday's game with a combined ERA of 4.66, fourth highest in the American League. They were 2-for-5 in save opportunities. Only the Orioles (2-for-6) were worse.
The Rangers have identified two needs. Doing something about it is a different matter.
Texas would like a second left-handed reliever in the bullpen to go with Darren Oliver, and it has received good reports on Clay Rapada at Triple-A Oklahoma City. But general manager Jon Daniels made it clear that C.J. Wilson and Derek Holland are not being considered. Wilson is in the Rangers' starting rotation, and Holland is doing the same at Triple-A Oklahoma City, and the club doesn't want to disrupt that.
"They're both throwing the ball very well in that role," Daniels said.
They would also like a power-right handed reliever for the eighth inning. Chris Ray and Frank Francisco are the likely candidates, but it's clear that manager Ron Washington is reluctant to use them in the eighth while trying to protect a lead until they get their act together.
"Chris Ray could be the guy, but we've got to get him some innings,' Washington said.
Francisco, with the score tied Tuesday night vs. the Red Sox, pitched the ninth inning and ended up taking the loss. He is now 2-3 with a 12.60 ERA after six games. In five innings, he has allowed seven runs on 10 hits and four walks with four strikeouts.
"I think Frankie could be that guy, he's just got to get it together," Washington said. "Frankie is showing improvement. He just had a little trouble hitting his spots [Tuesday night]. The ball came out better and his fire was better. He couldn't find his rhythm, but his demeanor was better."
Treanor makes third consecutive start
BOSTON -- Matt Treanor was in the lineup at catcher for the third consecutive game on Wednesday. Manager Ron Washington said Taylor Teagarden will likely start on Thursday against Clay Buchholz for the Red Sox.
But Teagarden, who is 0-for-18 with 13 strikeouts on the season, could also be headed for Triple-A Oklahoma City once Jarrod Saltalamacchia is activated off the disabled list.
"We need to get Salty healthy and then we'll address the rest of it," general manager Jon Daniels said before Wednesday's game.
But it's clear the Rangers have grown enamored with Treanor, who went into Wednesday's game 6-for-18 in five games behind the plate.
"Matt has played very well," Daniels said. "He brings a little toughness to the position."
Saltalamacchia was 1-for-4 as Oklahoma City's designated hitter on Wednesday afternoon and is 1-for-6 on his rehab assignment. He is scheduled to start at catcher and play seven innings on Thursday. After that, the Rangers want him to catch back-to-back nine inning games on Friday and Saturday. Then he'll be reevaluated.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.