Kinsler out of starting lineup in opener
Rangers hope a breather jump-starts All-Star second baseman
BALTIMORE -- Second baseman Ian Kinsler, hitting .202 since the All-Star break, was out of the Rangers' starting lineup on Friday night when they opened a three-game series with the Orioles at Camden Yards.Kinsler was unable to talk his way into the lineup after manager Ron Washington made the decision. "I just thought it was time," Washington said. "He's been going at it right from the break, and I just felt he needed a mental break. He looks like he's moving a little slow. The last thing I want him to do is get frustrated by pushing it too hard, so we're going to stave off frustration by giving him a break." Kinsler has played all but four of the Rangers' 116 games this season, last sitting on May 3-4 in Oakland when he had sore hamstring muscles.
"You can always use a day late in the season, but the mind-set of a ballplayer is to be in there every day," Kinsler said. "I could use a day to relax and watch the game, but it's tough to take a day off when the guy next to you [Michael Young] has a broken finger and is out there battling. But if the manager says take a day, you take a day."Kinsler was leading the American League in hitting with a .337 batting average at the break, but he is now seventh at .313. Going into Friday's game with the Orioles, he was leading the league with 94 runs scored and 151 hits. "Offensively, I'm seeing the ball fine and having good at-bats," Kinsler said. "It's just not coming together. A day off might put me back on track. I've hit some balls hard right at people and I've hit some balls on the [warning] track. A-Rod made a diving play yesterday. When you're going bad, things just don't go well for you. When you're going good, you can break your bat and still flare one in there." The Rangers also remain without Milton Bradley, who hasn't started since July 29 because of a strained left quad. He has pinch-hit once and remains day-to-day, but Washington is hoping that he'll start on Sunday against the Orioles.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.