ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler rejoined the Texas Rangers on Thursday and traveled with the team for its West Coast trip and his season debut.
Kinsler was in the dugout during the Rangers' 7-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox after completing a three-game rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Frisco without any setbacks. He has been on the disabled list all season after sustaining a high right ankle sprain during spring training.
Even though Kinsler tried to persuade manager Ron Washington to let him play in the homestand finale Thursday, the Rangers stuck with their plan. Kinsler will be activated from the disabled list Friday before the team plays in Seattle and be in the lineup then.
"It's been a little while. I'm ready to play," Kinsler said. "(Washington) wanted me to relax today because I've been going at it pretty hard. I tried to fight him a little bit, but he's pretty stubborn. I'll get in there in Seattle."
Kinsler went 3 for 9 with two runs, three RBIs and a stolen base in his rehab assignment with the RoughRiders. He had no issues defensively.
"I really don't think anything is going to hold me back," Kinsler said.
"Ian wants to play, there's no doubt about it," Washington said. "We're very happy to have him back. He looks good. Our plan was to get him ready for Friday."
Joaquin Arias started at second base for the 13th time Thursday and Andres Blanco started the other nine games during Kinsler's absence. Blanco was at shortstop Thursday for Elvis Andrus, who got his first day off this season.
The Rangers haven't said what roster move will be made to open a spot for Kinsler. Arias and Blanco don't have options left, meaning they would have to clear waivers before going to the minors. Texas could also send down struggling first baseman Ryan Garko since switch-hitting rookie Justin Smoak is playing every day.
Arias, Blanco and Garko all traveled to the West Coast with the team. The Rangers want to wait until Friday before deciding what to do, and also make sure Andrus (sore calf) and Arias (back stiffness) are OK.
Washington said Kinsler will bat fifth behind Vladimir Guerrero as had been expected before the second baseman turned his ankle during a workout at spring training before a game March 12.
Kinsler began the last two seasons as the leadoff hitter, but Washington decided during the offseason to put him in the middle of the order between Guerrero and slugging right fielder Nelson Cruz. Center fielder Julio Borbon began the season leading off.
Though Borbon struggled early and has been moved down to the No. 9 spot and Cruz is on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, Kinsler will still bat fifth. Andrus has taken over as the primary leadoff guy.
Despite hitting a career-low .253 last season, Kinsler scored 101 runs, drove in 86 and became only the third second baseman in major league history with at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season. He set career highs for games played (144), at-bats (566) and homers (31).