GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Second baseman Ian Kinsler is expected to be back in the lineup on Wednesday, but the Rangers still aren't sure when catcher Mike Napoli will be ready.Kinsler, who took batting practice on Tuesday, has been out of the lineup for three straight games with stiffness in his lower back. "We just want to make sure it doesn't become chronic," Kinsler said. "There's no point in rushing anything."
Napoli has now missed four straight games with a strained left groin muscle. Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said Napoli has some lingering tightness and will likely be used at designated hitter in a game before he goes back to catching."He's going to hit and throw and then we'll work him back into catching drills," Levine said. Napoli has played in just four of the Rangers' first 10 games and is 3-for-6 at the plate. Kinsler has played in five games and is 3-for-14.
Hamilton trying to get untracked at plate
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who had the day off on Tuesday, was asked how his Spring Training was going."Great ... I think I'll start working on it in a couple of days," Hamilton joked. He does have more than three weeks to go as the Rangers grind through the "dog days" of Spring Training. Right now it's about everybody getting their work in and trying to stay healthy.
Hamilton is doing that but is 3-for-18 at the plate. He was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts as the Rangers' designated hitter on Monday against the Mariners."Yesterday was not a good day," Hamilton said. "DH in Spring Training ... that wasn't good. It was like a day off. But it's still going good. It's all about staying square at the plate and getting your timing down." Manager Ron Washington admitted that Hamilton is struggling right now. "He'll get there," Washington said. "He's not comfortable. He's got to keep seeing pitching."
Harrison caught up in NCAA tourney hoopla
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Matt Harrison has Kentucky beating Syracuse in the NCAA championship game on his tournament bracket. The honor of the Rangers is at stake in this one."Just looking at their records -- I didn't see them play a lot -- they look like the best teams," the left-hander said. "I didn't pick many upsets. The teams are so even that I don't think you'll see many upsets." Harrison is the Rangers' entrant in the MLB.com bracket challenge. He will be competing with one player from the other 29 teams in the traditional March Madness bracket challenge that sweeps the nation every spring. Harrison is one of the bigger basketball fans in the Rangers' clubhouse. He is a native of North Carolina who roots for the Duke Blue Devils although his wife, Meghan, is a North Carolina Tar Heels fan. Harrison has no actual school ties to the tournament because he turned down a scholarship offer from North Carolina State to sign with the Braves out of high school. Now he'll be competing against guys like Curtis Granderson of the Yankees, David Wright of the Mets and both B.J. and Justin Upton. "I definitely will keep up with it," Harrison said. "Hopefully I can bring some bragging rights to the Rangers. It's just something to have a lot of fun with. It keeps you occupied in Spring Training."
Rangers pick Holland as player representative
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Pitcher Derek Holland has been chosen as the Rangers' player representative. It was actually thrust upon him Tuesday morning with Scott Feldman being named his assistant."I just showed up today and they volunteered me," Holland said. "I'll just try to do everything the right way." Holland replaces C.J. Wilson, who signed with the Angels in the offseason. The player representative is basically the liaison between the clubhouse and the Major League Baseball Players Association. With a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place, the duties shouldn't be too arduous.
Manager Ron Washington said Derek Holland and Matt Harrison will pitch Saturday and Sunday when the Rangers play the Cubs in Las Vegas. The Rangers, with a split squad, also play the D-backs on Saturday and the Brewers on Sunday in Arizona. Alexi Ogando will likely start Saturday against the D-back in Surprise. Washington said the Rangers have not finalized the travel roster for Las Vegas, but the Rangers won't be able to use the designated hitter. The Cubs are the home team and they want their pitchers to hit. Pitching coach Mike Maddux on why rookie left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross has caught his eye this spring: "He always has a big smile on his face. He's got a lot to be happy about. He hit a home run in batting practice, he's got a great disposition and he throws the ball over the plate with good movement ... and has fun doing it." Neftali Feliz starts against the Rockies on Wednesday in Surprise. Also scheduled to pitch are Michael Kirkman, Sean Green, Neal Cotts, Cody Eppley, Miguel De Los Santos and Justin Miller.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.