Kenny Rogers spent the best parts of his 15-year career in Texas.
After getting jilted by the Rangers this past offseason, the 38-year-old left-hander will get a chance to show them what they’ve been missing as the Minnesota Twins resume a three-game series at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Rogers spent 10 seasons with the Rangers from 1989-95 and 2000-02, posting 104 of his 152 victories in a Texas uniform. He led the Rangers in wins (13) and ERA (3.84) last season, but wasn’t offered a new contract.
“They (the Rangers) knew this is the place I wanted to play the most,” said Rogers, who was selected by Texas in the 1982 draft and pitched a perfect game with the Rangers in 1994.
“I think that probably worked to a disadvantage for me. If they wanted to keep me, they’d probably tried a little sooner than two or three hours before the deadline.”
Rogers signed a $2 million, one-year deal with the Twins in spring training to replace injured left-hander Eric Milton.
“There were not a lot of choices,” he said. “I was lucky in that aspect (to come to a contending team).”
The Twins were in first place in the AL Central when June ended, but have slipped four games behind surprising Kansas City after dropping 17 of their last 23, including Tuesday’s 8-6 defeat in the opener.
“I do believe this is a playoff team,” Rogers said. “We need to concentrate and focus.”
The last-place Rangers have won nine of 14 after a dismal 2-20 stretch.
Juan Gonzalez homered for the third time in four games Tuesday, giving him seven RBIs over that span.
Rafael Palmeiro also homered, his 21st this season and 511th overall.
STANDINGS: Twins - 2nd place, 4 GB, AL Central. Rangers - 4th place, 19 1/2 GB, AL West.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Rogers (7-4, 4.87 ERA). Rogers suffered a 4-1 home loss to Cleveland Thursday, giving up three earned runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings. He is 4-1 with a 3.67 ERA in nine games, including eight starts, against the Rangers.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Joaquin Benoit (3-4, 5.85 ERA). Benoit is 3-1 over his last five starts, allowing at least four earned runs three times. The right-hander gave up five earned runs and six hits over 4 2-3 innings in last Wednesday’s 5-0 loss to Anaheim. Benoit, who has never faced the Twins, is 2-1 with a 5.16 ERA at home this season.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Twins - Doug Mientkiewcz, .301 avg.; Corey Koskie, 14 HRs, 55 RBIs and 48 runs; Luis Rivas, 8 SBs. Rangers - Hank Blalock, .330 avg.; Alex Rodriguez, Gonzalez and Palmeiro, 21 HRs; Gonzalez, 61 RBIs; Rodriguez, 57 runs; Michael Young and Rodriguez, 7 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Rangers, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Twins - LHP Rogers is one of only two Minnesota starters to earn a victory since June 19. He has two wins during that span. RHP Rick Reed is the other with one. … On Tuesday, INF Chris Gomez made his first start since coming off the disabled list July 4 with a sprained right knee. He was 1-for-4 with an RBI. … 2B Luis Rivas has a seven-game hitting streak. … LF Ford is 10-for-32 (.313) in six games as the leadoff man. Rangers - 1B Mike Lamb was the DH on Tuesday, his second start in five games and sixth of the season. He was 0-for-4. … RF Gonzalez has 426 homers, tying Bill Williams for 32nd on the career list. … 1B Palmeiro tied Mel Ott for 17th on the career homer list, one behind Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Twins - 22-21 on the road; Rangers - 21-24 at home.
INJURIES: Twins - RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 60-day DL; LHP Milton (knee), 60-day DL. Rangers - CF Mench (wrist), day-to-day; LHP Aaron Fultz (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL.