OAKLAND -- Ian Kinsler hit his 30th home run on Wednesday but is still four stolen bases short of going 30-30 for the second time in his career. Kinsler had 26 stolen bases going into Thursday's game and isn't overly concerned about getting to 30-30 again."Honestly, it doesn't matter," Kinsler said. "It's a good accomplishment, but we've got a lot bigger fish to fry." Kinsler went 30-30 in 2009 with 31 homers and steals, but there is one big difference between that season and this one. Kinsler stole third base 11 times in 2009. He has stolen it once this season. "Other teams are paying more attention to me," Kinsler said. "I used to be able to steal third more consistently, but now I'm getting different looks. It makes it tougher." Kinsler stole his 26th base on Wednesday and it was also his 25th in a row since getting caught on April 15 in New York. That's the longest current streak in the Majors. He is 26-for-28 in steals this season, a 92.9 percent success rate that is the highest in the Major Leagues. Since 2007, when Ron Washington took over as manager and Gary Pettis became the Rangers' baserunning instructor, Kinsler has been successful on 88.3 percent (121-for-137), the third best rate in that stretch for those with at least 60 attempts. "A lot of it comes from Gary Pettis," Kinsler said. "He's able to pick up things I wouldn't normally pick up and he relays the information to me ... pitchers moves, things they do before they go to the plate that indicate they are going to the plate. He's good at it."
Hamstring strain may keep Lowe from ALDS
OAKLAND -- Rangers reliever Mark Lowe is unlikely to be ready for the playoffs after being diagnosed with a Grade 2 (medium) strained left hamstring. Lowe was examined by Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington on Thursday.Lowe received a blood platelet injection on Thursday to help speed up the recovery, but the Rangers are preparing for the possibility of him not being ready for the playoffs. Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre both missed several weeks with a strained hamstring muscle. "It definitely puts his availability in doubt, but he just got the injection, so we'll go from there," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Let's wait and see how he responds. Short relievers are different than everyday players." Lowe strained his left hamstring working out before Wednesday's game running wind sprints in the outfield. "It was his normal workout," Daniels said. "He has never had a hamstring injury before. It was a freak thing." The injury will likely have a significant impact on the composition of the Rangers' bullpen. "You are always concerned when somebody gets hurt," manager Ron Washington said. "But as this team has always done, when somebody goes down, somebody else has to step up." Lowe, who is 2-3 with a 3.80 ERA in 52 games, was expected to be part of the Rangers' postseason bullpen along with closer Neftali Feliz, right-handed setup relievers Mike Adams and Koji Uehara and left-handed relievers Mike Gonzalez and Darren Oliver. The Rangers are also expected to add Alexi Ogando to the bullpen for the playoffs because they are going with a four-man rotation. That makes seven relievers, and they may add one more from a group that includes right-handers Scott Feldman, Yoshinori Tateyama and Darren O'Day and left-hander Mike Kirkman. If Lowe is unable to go, the Rangers will likely choose one more from that group.
Blister not an issue for Rangers lefty Wilson
OAKLAND -- The Rangers are not concerned about the blister on C.J. Wilson's middle finger, and they expect him to make his next start on Monday against the Angels.Wilson developed a blister on the middle finger of his left hand in the first inning of Wednesday's game against the Athletics. He was still able to pitch six innings, and manager Ron Washington said the blister was not an issue. "I'll be fine," Wilson said. The Rangers were also without pitcher Mike Gonzalez on Thursday. He developed a virus and the team sent him back to Texas a day early.
Ogando gets in work before Saturday start
OAKLAND -- Rangers right-hander Alexi Ogando was close to making his second relief appearance of the season on Wednesday. He was warming up in the sixth inning while C.J. Wilson was in a bit of trouble on the mound.But Wilson got out of the inning without giving up a run and that was it for Ogando. He sat down and Koji Uehara took over for Wilson in the seventh. "That was Ogando's work day," manager Ron Washington said. "If C.J. couldn't finish the sixth, he would have gone in. Once C.J. finished the sixth, he got his work in and was through." Ogando is still scheduled to pitch on Saturday against the Mariners. It will be his first start since Sept. 15. Uehara pitched a scoreless seventh, retiring the side in order. He still has a 4.80 ERA in 18 appearances for the Rangers while allowing five home runs. But he has allowed just one run in his last six outings with eight strikeouts in 41/3 innings. "I think he's been doing some good things down there," Washington said. "A couple of innings didn't go right. It happens. He never wavered in his confidence and we never wavered in our confidence."
Rangers not concerned about energy drinks
OAKLAND -- USA Today ran a story on Thursday saying that some Major League teams are no longer providing energy drinks in their clubhouses and also banning them in their Minor Leagues. Clubs cannot ban them at the Major League level because they are not prohibited in the collective bargaining agreement.Rangers strength and conditioning coach Jose Vazquez is dubious about the merits of energy drinks and the need to ban them. "I don't think energy drinks are that strong," Vazquez said. "The problem is guys don't drink enough water to counteract the sugar or the caffeine. Most energy drinks are just a combination of caffeine and sugar. There are so many things that qualify as an energy drink. You're going to have to ban coffee and soft drinks. "I can understand steroids, but at what point are players responsible for their own actions. You take an energy drink, you know you're going to get a jolt and a sugar high. You may have a sugar crash. They all know that." The Rangers only carry one brand of energy drink, one that is approved by Major League Baseball.
The Rangers have declined to renew the contract of Minor League hitting coordinator Mike Boulanger, who has been with the organization for the past nine seasons. Josh Hamilton's 20 game-winning RBIs not only lead the Major Leagues but also tie the club record set by Rafael Palmeiro in 1999. Hamilton collected his 20th with an eighth-inning home run against the A's on Wednesday night. Ian Kinsler has nine home runs in September, the most in the Major Leagues.
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.