Kinsler back in Rangers lineup from bruised ribs
By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Sports Writer
Kinsler, who had been out since May 18 with a ribcage injury, was activated from the disabled list after playing only two games for Double-A Frisco. He was 0 for 8 with a walk in the two games.
“I’m healthy, I’m ready to play,” Kinsler said before leading off and playing second base against Toronto. “There’s no point to play nine more innings in Double-A when I can play nine innings here.”
The Rangers were 11-14 without Kinsler. Before Saturday, they had a season-long four-game losing streak. All of those losses were at home, with only five combined runs and an 8-0 loss Friday night.
When Kinsler was sent out to Frisco, the Rangers said he’d be the designated hitter one game and then play at least two games in the field. The plan changed based on how Kinsler felt, and the team’s need for a boost.
“First and foremost, he feels good physically,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “Our medical staff is confident he’s as healthy as he’s going to be. He could use more at-bats there, but he sees we’re scuffling here and wanted to go back.”
Kinsler never wanted to go on a rehab assignment in the first place, and after Frisco’s 11-inning game Friday night’s game told the Rangers he was ready to be back with the team.
The Rangers optioned infielder Leury Garcia to Triple-A Round Rock.
With Kinsler back in the lineup along with shortstop Elvis Andrus that will mean less playing time for 20-year-old rookie Jurickson Profar who had hits in four of the last five games and is hitting .278.
Manager Ron Washington said Profar had earned a lot of credibility in the clubhouse with his play and “he’s one of our best 25” players. But Washington said he had no set number of how much Profar will get to play.
Washington said Profar will be get time playing shortstop, second base and even third base. There is also the possibility of him playing outfield, and he will begin working with coach Gary Pettis in the field.
“I’m not going to say how many at-bats he gets,” Daniels said. “But we wouldn’t have kept him if he wasn’t going to play. We’re trying to win games.”
When Profar was asked if it was going to be hard to not play every day, he smiled and said, “I don’t know, we’ll see.” He hasn’t played outfield professionally.
Kinsler, a three-time All-Star, hit .302 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs in his 40 games before going on the disabled list.
He initially got hurt running bases when he got hit in the right side by a ball while sliding into base. After doing on the DL, he has delayed in his rehab by what the team called a stress reaction in the same area of his ribs.
Neither Kinsler or Washington were worried that he didn’t have any hits in his shortened rehab assignment.
“He’s ready to go. We’ll let him figure it out here. We still believe he will give us good at-bats,” Washington said.
Kinsler said the only thing that matters is that he’s healthy and ready to play.
“It’s frustrating anytime you’re out, whether the team is playing good or playing bad,” Kinsler said. “It’s always tough to sit and watch.”