Kinsler hopes to be ready by Opening Day
Infielder may miss remainder of Cactus League action
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers still hope that second baseman Ian Kinsler will be ready for Opening Day.But there is a question if he'll play again in the Cactus League this spring. Kinsler has been sidelined for two weeks with a high right ankle sprain and remains limited to only light baseball activities. On Friday, Dr. Keith Meister examined him and also found a small bone bruise in the back of the ankle. Kinsler is getting an anti-inflammatory injection that the Rangers are hoping will knock out the last of the pain and swelling. Kinsler was hoping to be back in the lineup but Texas doesn't believe that will be the case. "I don't think we anticipate he'll be ready to play in a game on Monday," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "He's got a lot of momentum going so based on how he reacts to the injection, we'll have a better idea of when he'll get back on the field." When Kinsler is ready again, he could get his playing time in Minor League games rather than the Cactus League. That would serve two purposes. Under the loose conditions of Minor League games, Kinsler could lead off every inning and get as many as eight to nine at-bats a game if needed. The Rangers were doing that with Jarrod Saltalamacchia on Friday. Secondly, by not playing Kinsler in a Cactus League game, the Rangers retain flexibility with the disabled list. If Kinsler is not quite ready for Opening Day, the Rangers could put him on the disabled list and back-date it as much as nine days as long as he doesn't play in an "A" game during that time. That would allow him to be on the disabled list for as little as six days to start the season.
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"That would be the first course of action, get him as many at-bats as possible in a Minor League game before we put him in a regular game," Levine said. "It's really tough to prognosticate until we see how he physically responds to the injection. Our goal is to have him ready for Opening Day but we are not going to force the issue."Kinsler has played in just five Cactus League games this spring and has just ten at-bats. "We miss Kinsler," manager Ron Washington said. "We miss his presence, we miss his threat, we miss what he brings on defense and we miss his leadership." Also pitcher Darren O'Day is going to receive an injection in his right elbow to help relieve the pain and inflammation caused by a bone bruise. He did some light throwing on the side Friday and will likely be shut down 48-72 hours while the injection takes effect. The Rangers will likely use O'Day in Minor League games when he is ready to pitch again so they retain the flexibility as far as the disabled list.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.