Notes: Kinsler still learning at second
Second baseman had a rough May, but is coming around
ARLINGTON -- Every day has been a learning experience for second baseman Ian Kinsler.On Thursday, there was a rundown that wasn't executed properly and it cost the Rangers a run in an 11-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers. Much went wrong for the Rangers that night, but the play was another painful reminder that Kinsler is still learning the second base position. "It was poor decision-making, that's all, but the next time he has that play, he'll know what to do," manager Ron Washington said. "He's young. He played two-something years in the Minors and this is his second full year in the big leagues. The kid is still learning. He's such a talent, people forget how young and inexperienced he is. He's not a five-year veteran. "He does some good things and people put him in a class with veterans. He's still learning." This has been a tough time for Kinsler. He hit .298 with 22 RBIs during April, but .174 with five RBIs in May. He had nine home runs in April but just one in 113 at-bats since then and his overall average sits at .239 despite six hits in his first 21 at-bats in June. "Offensively, I feel I'm all right," Kinsler said. "I'm getting on base, scoring runs and driving in runs. Batting average doesn't tell all, but at the same time it tells you how many hits you have in how many at-bats, and I'm a better hitter than .239. He showed that he was alright in the third inning of Friday night's game, hitting a deep solo home run that banged off the foul pole. "There's no doubt I'll be better at the end of the season. But when the team is losing, you feel responsible, especially when you feel you're not swinging the bat as good as you can." Defensively, he's committed 12 errors, tied for the most at second base in the American League and tied for the second most at any position in the Major Leagues. "Defensively, there have probably been five or six errors where I have been trying to do too much," Kinsler said. "Defensively, I feel like I'm playing good even though I've missed a couple of balls. But if you look at my errors, some have come from trying to make a play that's not there. I just need to stay within my game." Padilla set for Sunday: The official word from Vicente Padilla on how his arm feels in preparation for Sunday: "Good," he said. Padilla missed his last start because of irritation behind the elbow but threw on flat ground on Friday without problem. He is expected to pitch on Sunday against the Brewers. "He got after it pretty good," pitching coach Mark Connor said. "He's of the view that he can pitch on Sunday, which is good news." Wilkerson, Wright watch: Brad Wilkerson (strained hamstring) and Jamey Wright (right shoulder inflammation) could re-emerge as options for the Rangers next week as their medical rehabilitation assignments progress. Wilkerson is 2-for-7 in his first two games on medical rehabilitation assignment but had yet to play the field. The Rangers want him to be able to play the outfield before he's activated. The Rangers are hoping that he can ready by Tuesday in Pittsburgh. If not, the Rangers will likely add another position player and one possibility is third baseman Travis Metcalf. Wright is at Triple A Oklahoma and his next start is scheduled for Monday. If he can pitch six strong innings, he could be ready to return to the Rangers rotation. "You could probably say he's ready right now but one more outing would be nice," Connor said. Eyre's scoreless streak: Reliever Willie Eyre had a 12-inning scoreless streak going into Friday's game. He was last scored upon on May 21 against the Minnesota Twins. The streak covers five appearances, with at least two innings pitched in each appearance.
He said it: "I got a lot of letters from fans here after the trade. I see a lot of people in the offseason who still wish I was still here. Hopefully I made a good impression." -- Brewers outfielder Kevin Mench, traded by the Rangers last year.Thursday's Minor Stars:
Gold: Bakersfield left-hander Glenn Swanson threw six scoreless innings in the Blaze's 4-3 victory over Visalia. He allowed three hits and struck out 10 in raising his record to 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA. Silver: Steve Murphy had three hits, including a three-run home run, and Kevin Richardson was 3-for-4 with a two-run home run in Double-A Frisco's 10-8 victory over San Antonio. Bronze: Triple-A Oklahoma infielder Tim Hulett went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored in the RedHawks 12-5 victory over Round Rock. Briefly: Gerald Laird was out of the lineup on Friday after leaving Thursday's game in the fourth inning. Laird was experiencing some dizziness and dehydration but was better on Friday. ...Scouting director Ron Hopkin's son Ross was drafted in the 40th round by the Cincinnati Reds on Friday. He is a catcher at Seattle Tyee High School.
Up next: Right-hander Brandon McCarthy returns to the rotation and pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers at 7:35 p.m. CT on Saturday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Right-hander Ben Sheets pitches for the Brewers.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.