Ian Kinsler and Prince Fielder could each be facing their former teams Thursday when the Rangers take on the Tigers in Detroit -- that is if Fielder makes it.
The Rangers announced that Fielder wouldn't travel with the team to Detroit on Wednesday night so that he could stay behind and see back specialist Dr. Drew Dossett.
Fielder was expected to rejoin the lineup against the Mariners, but sat out both Tuesday and Wednesday for his third and fourth missed games in a row. He has a herniated disc in his neck, and the Rangers said that whether or not he makes the trip to Detroit will depend on how the visit with Dossett goes.
Fielder played for the Tigers for two seasons, from 2012-2013 and was an All-Star both years, participating in two Home Run Derbies and receiving Player of the Week honors once.
If he does meet the team there, Rangers manager Ron Washington said he thinks the fans in Detroit will be respectful.
"I thought he did a good job there, so there are definitely some great fans in Detroit," Washington said. "I think they'll treat him professionally."
Kinsler played for the Rangers for eight seasons before Texas traded him in order to acquire Fielder as an offensive threat.
Before coming to Texas, Fielder had hit .279 with 25 home runs and 106 RBIs for the Tigers in 2013. Kinsler was part of the Rangers' World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011, and is aware of the chatter that comes with the Rangers coming to town.
"Because of the trade, it's automatically blown up," Kinsler said. "People want to know what I'm thinking or what Prince thinks. For me, it's just another series. It'll be fun to see my teammates."
He'll be facing several of his old teammates, including a few pitchers, and said the main objective is to keep a focused-mentality despite a situation that naturally lends itself to emotions.
"I was trying to feel everything out for a week or so," Kinsler said. "But now, I don't really care about the Texas Rangers. I care about the Detroit Tigers."
On the mound for the Tigers on Thursday is Robbie Ray. He's 1-0 on the season with a 0.75 ERA and eight strikeouts in three starts.
Yu Darvish will get the start for the Rangers after pitching against the Blue Jays on Friday, where he allowed only two runs in eight innings. He's 3-2 on the season with a 2.32 ERA and 65 strikeouts. In his last three starts, he's 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA and 32 strikeouts.
Darvish threw fewer pitches in his bullpen session than usual on Tuesday as he prepared for Thursday's start. But he was sure to emphasize that he only did so because Thursday is a day game. Five of the Rangers' six next games are day games.
"As I've been repeating, the only reason why I threw less [Tuesday] is because we have a day game [Thursday]," Darvish said. "I just wanted more recovery time. … The pitch count that I feel in the side session doesn't correlate to how I feel that day."
Rangers: Gimenez and Darvish could be duo
When catcher Chris Gimenez arrived in Texas on Tuesday after being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock, one of the first things he learned was that the Rangers were going to pair him with starting pitcher Yu Darvish.
Gimenez caught Wednesday against Seattle to both get acclimated and relieve starting catcher Robinson Chirinos for a day. Gimenez and Darvish will make their first appearance together as a pair Thursday against the Tigers.
"[Gimenez], he's a conscientious guy," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I talked to Darvish first and let him know what our plans were and I didn't see any reaction that he didn't want it to happen. We just wanted to give him a heads up what we're doing."
Washington said he expects Darvish and Gimenez to become a more permanent pair, contingent on things going smoothly Thursday.
"I believe [Gimenez] will be able to help [Darvish] get through the game," Washington said. "It could change, but I expect so. We'll see how the first one goes."
Tigers: Ray sticking around for now
Detroit starter Robbie Ray was scheduled to go back to Triple-A Toledo, but an injury to Rick Porcello that's taking longer to heal than the Tigers thought, has kept Ray in Detroit.
Ray is 1-0 on the season with a 0.75 ERA and has already had two strong starts.
The 22-year-old made his debut May 6 and has pitched a total of 12 innings with 10 hits, just one earned run, and eight strikeouts.
• The Rangers hit .302 against the Tigers in 2013, good for a tie for their second highest average against any opponent. They hit .303 against Arizona.
• Catcher J.P. Arencibia cleared outright waivers Wednesday and was assigned outright to Triple-A Round Rock.
• Chatter about the Tigers potentially picking up shortstop Stephen Drew in June has been hushed. The shortstop signed back with the Red Sox, and Tigers officials are saying picking up Drew wasn't really talked about internally.
• Shortstop Eugenio Suarez has moved up to Triple-A Toledo from Double-A Erie. The Tigers agreed in spring training that he needed more experience, and now they can watch him closer to Detroit.
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com p> This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.