Mariners-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

Prince Fielder expects to play, but that was also the case less than 24 hours ago.

The Texas Rangers could use him.

Fielder will try to come back from a neck injury as the slumping Rangers attempt to salvage a split in their two-game set with the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.

Texas (21-24) is batting .221 with an average of 2.3 runs while dropping five of six. The last three games have all come without Fielder, who is nursing a herniated disk in his neck.

''We certainly feel like we're not doing what we're capable of doing on the offensive side yet,'' manager Ron Washington said.

In Tuesday's 6-2 loss to Seattle, the Rangers collected six hits - five singles - after Fielder was scratched from the lineup following batting practice.

Fielder, who was given an injection Saturday, feels the extra day off will serve him well.

"I mean, I'm doing all right. Just my arm feels a little weak still. Not too much pain. Just feels a little weak," Fielder said. "Not too concerned now because there's nothing I can do right now besides give it the extra day."

The Rangers aren't sure if an additional day will help.

"I've had my hopes dashed before on the medical side, so we'll see," general manager Jon Daniels said.

While Fielder has been largely disappointing with a .247 average, three homers and 16 RBIs, he was 7 for 17 (.412) in five games before being sidelined.

Leonys Martin may also be back after a sprained right ankle ruled him out Tuesday. The center fielder is hitting .364 at home compared to .185 on the road.

The venue hasn't mattered against Seattle with Martin going 7 for 17 with five runs in his last five meetings.

While the Rangers are scuffling at the plate, the Mariners (22-22) are finding some unexpected success. Seattle's .236 average is among the worst in baseball, but the team pounded out 12 hits Tuesday after collecting 11 with three doubles and a triple in a 6-2 win at Minnesota on Sunday.

Kyle Seager has four hits and three RBIs during that stretch. The third baseman is a career .257 hitter, but he owns a .432 average over his last 19 visits to Arlington.

"I've always seen the ball pretty well here," said Seager, who is 9 for 17 with three homers and eight RBIs in his last four overall meetings with Texas.

Robinson Cano has reached base in a career-high 27 consecutive games. The All-Star second baseman is hitting .364 over that stretch, and he's 9 for 18 over the past four games.

Production at the plate may be needed if Chris Young (3-1, 3.22 ERA) struggles again. The right-hander is trying to bounce back from his worst start of the season, giving up five runs and 10 hits in seven innings of a 5-4 loss to the Twins on Friday.

He had won each of his three previous starts behind a 1.83 ERA.

Young, a member of the Rangers from 2004-05, is scheduled to face his former team for the first time since June 21, 2006, with San Diego.

The Rangers are countering with Nick Tepesch, who is making a second straight start for the injured Martin Perez. Tepesch allowed one run and two hits with eight strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings while not getting a decision in a 5-4 loss at Houston in his season debut last Wednesday.

The right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in three starts versus Seattle, and he's allowed Seager to go 4 for 7 with three doubles.

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