Rangers 2B Kinsler has anti-inflammatory injection

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler had targeted a Monday return from a high right ankle sprain, but now it appears questionable whether he will be ready when the Rangers open the regular season April 5.

Kinsler, who rolled his ankle in a March 12 workout, received an anti-inflammatory injection Friday. A MRI also revealed a bone bruise on the tip of the tibia.

Assistant general manager Thad Levine said the hope is the injection "can knock out the last part of the discomfort for Kinsler."

"I don't think we anticipate Ian playing in a game on Monday" Levine said. "The next step for us is how he responds to the injection today. He's got a lot of momentum."

Levine said it's difficult to predict whether Kinsler would play in a big league game before the Rangers break camp Thursday in Arizona.

"We're going to need to see how he physically responds," Levine said. "Our goal is to have him ready for Opening Day and healthy. If we're able to get him out on the field when he's gotten clearance that would be optimum, but we're not going to force the issue."

Levine said Kinsler would likely play in minor league games first to see how his body responds.

Kinsler hit 31 home runs and stole 31 bases last season and was a 2008 All-Star selection when he hit .319. He was hitting .400 in five exhibition games before the injury.

"We miss his presence," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We miss his threat. We miss what he brings on the defensive end. We miss his leadership. Other people have got to step up when you lose somebody."

Joaquin Arias would probably begin the season as the Rangers second baseman if Kinsler is placed on the disabled list.

In other Rangers injuries, reliever Darren O'Day received an injection Friday for a right elbow bruise and will be out for two to three days. And catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has left rhomboid inflammation, played in a minor league game Friday and could return Saturday for the Rangers' game against Milwaukee.