FRISCO—One night after going 0-for-4 as Frisco’s Designated Hitter, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler again led off for the Roughriders on Friday night. However, this time he played second base and went 0-for-4 with a walk in the second game of his rehabilitation assignment as Frisco lost to Corpus Christi 3-2 in 11 innings.
“I’m fine. I’m healthy and ready to get back,” he said after Friday’s game.
Kinsler, who went on the 15-day disabled list May 20 with a right intercostal strain is expected to play one more game with Frisco on Saturday night and could return to Arlington in time for Sunday’s Rangers series finale with Toronto.
However, judging by how strong he looked in his two games with the Roughriders and the fact that the Rangers are now mired in a four-game losing streak, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him recalled by the big club in time for Saturday’s game with the Blue Jays.
But if the three-time All-Star plays one more game in Frisco, as he will most likely do, again leading off for the ‘Riders and playing second on Saturday night vs. Corpus Christi, then he could be on the bench and available as a pinch hitter or pinch runner for Sunday, which would set up his return for Oakland, when the Rangers begin a huge four-game series against Oakland, who heading into Friday’s action were two games ahead of Texas in the American League West standings.
“I don’t know [when I’ll be back in Arlington],” Kinsler said. “It’s up to them. I’m ready to play. Whenever they want me to come up and play, I’m ready. Kind of wait and see, wait for the phone call.”
The veteran infielder saw a total of 16 pitches in his five plate appearances on Friday night. In Kinsler’s first plate appearance, he led off the home half of the first inning for the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate in the Texas League. The 30-year-old worked the count to 2-0 before popping out with a flare to shallow left field that was played by Corpus Christi shortstop Jiovanni Mier for the first out of the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Kinsler struck out on four pitches. After taking the first offering from Corpus Christi starter Jorge DeLeon low and away for ball one, he then hit a pair of pop fouls before swinging at a 97-MPH fastball down and away from DeLeon for strike three.
And in the bottom of the sixth, the Ranger second sacker effectively worked the count, drawing a five-pitch walk from Hooks reliever Ruben Alaniz. Kinsler then went to second after an infield single by Frisco’s Guilder Rodriguez but was unable to advance any further.
Kinsler’s fourth plate appearance of the evening came in the bottom of the eighth. After taking strike one from Alaniz, he topped his second pitch, sending a dribbler to short and Meir threw him out for the second out of the inning.
In the home half of the 10th, the Ranger infielder headed to the plate with the winning run at second. However, after taking the first pitch from Corpus Christi reliever Andrew Robinson, Kinsler popped up to second to end the inning.
As for his experience in the field, the Texas second baseman figured in five plays, including a groundout in the top of the second, being on the receiving end of a perfect throw from Frisco catcher Brett Nicholas on the top of the third in a caught stealing for the Hooks and a line out by Hooks’ second baseman Enrique Hernandez in the top of the 10th.
During each of his five plate appearances on Friday night, Kinsler received a rousing ovation from a crowd of nearly 11,000 at Dr Pepper Ballpark, something which definitely reminded him of his original stint in Frisco, which came in 2004 when that team won the TL championship.
“We had a good summer when I was here in 2004. We won the championship, so it was awesome. It was a lot of fun,” he said. “I definitely have a lot of memories here. I had great teammates, so anytime I come back here it’s a good time for me.”
And in case some Ranger fans are wondering, yes, Kinsler did spring for a postgame meal for his current Frisco teammates as is customary whenever a veteran like him returns to the minors for a rehab stint.
“No one takes them out to dinner. We get dinner for them but we don’t take them out to dinner. We’re eating Outback tonight, so hopefully they’re happy about it,” he said.