DETROIT -- The Rangers have a big weekend ahead when the annual 2011 Alumni Legacy Weekend takes place at the Ballpark in Arlington.The centerpiece of the weekend will be the induction of former pitcher Kenny Rogers into the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday. The on-field ceremony will begin at 6:40 p.m. CT, with the first pitch of the Rangers-Indians game moved back to 7:15 p.m. on Saturday. The festivities begin on Friday with the Dr. Pepper Hall of Fame Luncheon at the Arlington Convention Center at 11:30 a.m. The luncheon will honor Rogers and also features Rangers Hall of Famers Rusty Greer, Tom Grieve, Toby Harrah, Charlie Hough, Nolan Ryan, Ruben Sierra, and Jim Sundberg. Broadcaster Eric Nadel will be the master of ceremonies for the luncheon, which benefits the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation. Tickets for the luncheon are priced at $50 for individuals and $500 for tables of eight that include a Rangers alumni/celebrity (subject to availability). Tickets are still available by calling 817-436-5933 or e-mailing email@example.com. Tickets can be picked up at the door. On Saturday, the gates at the Ballpark in Arlington open at 4:30 p.m. There will be an autograph session with Texas Rangers alumni on the main concourse between home plate and third base between 5:00 and 5:45 p.m. Autographs are free for fans holding tickets to Saturday's game on a first-come, first-served basis. The list of players who will be signing will be posted when the gates open at 4:30 p.m. Rogers spent 12 seasons with the Rangers in 1989-95, 2000-02 and 2004-05. He was 133-96 with a 4.16 ERA, a three-time All-Star selection and four-time Rangers Pitcher of the Year during his time with Texas. He pitched in 528 games, the most in Rangers history.
Coolbaugh expects Rangers' offense to improve
DETROIT -- Manager Ron Washington isn't happy with the Rangers' offensive execution lately. Hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh has the same concerns, but said the club is trying to address it."We work on it daily during batting practice," Coolbaugh said. "You go through periods where it doesn't happen ... for whatever reason. If everybody had an answer, we would be gurus. The guys are battling and working hard at it. We just need to focus on the fundamental part of the game, and eventually we will break through." The Rangers lost to the Tigers by one run on Tuesday and Wednesday. In both games the Rangers had a runner on third with less than two outs and were unable to score. That's what has rankled Washington. "The players are aware of it," Coolbaugh said. "The players know we haven't been efficient enough on the road trip. They'll be able to fix it because they know what to do. We're still scoring runs in other ways, but we've had chances to score runs in other ways and haven't been able to do it." The Rangers have 30 sacrifice flies as a team entering Thursday, tied for sixth in the American League. There are other ways to get a runner home from third base with less than two outs, but they were second in the AL in sacrifice flies last season.
Kinsler playing solid defense, but in a slump
DETROIT -- Second baseman Ian Kinsler went into Thursday's game hitless in his last nine at-bats and with just one hit in his last 30 at-bats. It's not a subject that Kinsler is eager to talk about."There's really nothing to say about it," Kinsler said. On the flip side, his defense has been excellent. He has not committed an error since June 21 and has just two in his last 72 games. Because of his ability to turn the double play, the Rangers lead Major League Baseball in double plays. They turned three on Wednesday. But his offense remains a concern because he is the Rangers' leadoff hitter and not just a defensive specialist. "You know, I don't see much of a difference than when he is on a hot streak," hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh said. "It's kind of a combination of things. This series he has had some lineouts and some good at-bats where he's hit the ball hard. But things have kind of snowballed through a tough road trip. "He is our leadoff guy, and when he's not on base, he's not causing as much havoc because he's not doing the other things he can do. But he'll be fine and get on another hot streak."
Heat will be on when Rangers return home
DETROIT -- The Rangers return home to Arlington on Friday and they will arrive smack into the middle of a heat wave. The high for Friday and Saturday is currently listed at 110 degrees. On Sunday, it's 109.Rangers pitcher Derek Holland gets first crack at it. He is scheduled to pitch on Friday against the Indians. "I'm not worried about it," Holland said. "The other guy has to pitch in it like I do. You can't let something like that distract you. You have to keep your focus." Rangers manager Ron Washington tried to limit his players' exposure to the heat on the last homestand by letting the club do its pregame work indoors, including batting practice in the cages. He may change that around on this homestand. "We may go out and see what we can do in the heat," Washington said. "Last time, I kept them out of it. This time, we're going to spend some time in it and just try to get a feel for it. Instead of an hour, we may stay out for 40 minutes. Instead of the groups hitting for 15 minutes, they may hit for 10." Washington takes his turn throwing batting practice and hitting fungoes. He will be out there with the rest of them. "I'll be out in the heat," Washington said. "The only time I get my exercise is throwing BP and hitting fungoes."
Rangers to miss Felix, Beavan in Mariners series
DETROIT -- The Rangers will miss both Blake Beavan and Felix Hernandez during their three-game series against the Mariners next week at the Ballpark in Arlington.Right now, Beavan is scheduled to pitch on Saturday against the Angels and Hernandez is scheduled to pitch Sunday.
That means the Rangers are expected to see left-hander Charlie Furbush on Monday, right-hander Michael Pineda on Tuesday and left-hander Jason Vargas on Wednesday.
The Rangers struck out once on Wednesday and have 636 strikeouts on the season entering Thursday's game, the lowest in the Major Leagues. The last time the Rangers finished the season with the fewest strikeouts in the Majors was in 1980. Mike Napoli is averaging a home run per 12.06 at-bats, the third most in the Major Leagues for players with at least 200 at-bats. He has one RBI for every 4.88 at-bats, the ninth most in the league. The Rangers have 34 losses at Comerica Park since it opened in 2000. That's the most by a Tigers opponent outside of the American League Central. The Rangers are hoping that Adrian Beltre can start running the basepaths on Friday. He is on the disabled list with a pulled left hamstring, and if he can run the bases without problem this weekend, he could go out on a rehabilitation assignment at some point next week. Craig Gentry, who is on the disabled list while recovering from a concussion, is scheduled to begin a three-day rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Round Rock on Friday. But he is still waiting for clearance from the Rangers' medical staff.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.