DETROIT -- Rangers center fielder Daniel Robertson had to come out of Thursday's 9-2 win over the Tigers in the third inning after getting hit in the left side of the face by right fielder Alex Rios' knee. The two were trying to make a sliding catch of Ian Kinsler's popup in shallow right-center field.
Robertson was diagnosed with multiple small displaced fractures in his left cheek. He also had the makings of a black eye. He didn't lose any teeth, just a wad of gum. He will undergo further evaluation on Friday, but he won't go on the disabled list.
"The gum went pretty far," Robertson said. "It was just one of those things, so many people, you can't really hear. It's just part of the game. It was a hustling play, we were both running for it. It happens. I'm fine. We had bigger things happen today."
Robertson was starting in center for the third straight game, while Leonys Martin has been dealing with neck stiffness. Martin was well enough to replace Robertson on Thursday and had two hits.
Saunders awaiting next assignment
DETROIT -- Pitcher Joe Saunders is expected to meet with manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux in the next day or two to see when he will pitch again. He is hoping it will be in the Major Leagues, but the Rangers have not revealed what it will be.
"I can't imagine another rehab start being in my picture," Saunders said. "I went seven innings [on Tuesday], what else can I do. I feel good. I feel really good. I feel like I'm ready to go."
Saunders has been on the disabled list since April 5 with a stress fracture in his left ankle. He had to leave his only start against the Rays after getting his by a hard grounder back up the mound off the bat of Evan Longoria. Saunders has made four starts on rehab assignment. In his last outing for Triple A Round Rock, he allowed one run on eight hits and two walks with one strikeout.
Right now the Rangers are going with a rotation of Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis, Nick Tepesch, Nick Martinez and Scott Baker. Martinez and Baker were brought out of the bullpen this week after Martin Perez and Matt Harrison went down with season-ending injuries.
Kinsler ready for ex-teammates
DETROIT -- Prince Fielder is still in Texas dealing with a neck injury and not yet ready to play against his former Tigers teammates. But Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was in the lineup hitting .317 and ready for his first game against the Rangers.
The two players were swapped for each other this winter, ending Kinsler's eight-year stay with the Rangers.
"I'm looking forward to it," Kinsler said. "It's going to be fun playing against ex-teammates and playing against [manager Ron Washington]. I'm looking forward to it."
Kinsler, who was on vacation with Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre when he heard about the trade, said he still stays in touch with his ex-teammates.
"A little bit," Kinsler said. "During the season, you kind of get stuck in the routine of baseball. I still stay in touch with some of them. Little bit of trash talk [before the series]."
Apparent nobody was too upset when Kinsler said in a pre-season interview that he hoped the Rangers would go 0-162.
"They laughed," Kinsler said. "They thought it was funny. Like everyone probably should. The way it was taken was serious. But it's funny. It's supposed to be funny. They saw it as funny."
Rangers expected to see Strasburg
DETROIT -- The Rangers are in line to face right-hander Steven Strasburg during their three-game series with the Nationals next weekend in Washington D.C. If the Nationals' rotation is not disrupted, they will also face former Rangers Minor Leaguer Tanner Roark as well as Doug Fister.
Strasburg is scheduled to pitch on Friday in the series followed by Roark on Saturday and Fister on Sunday. This would be the first time they have faced Strasburg or Roark. The Rangers traded Roark to the Nationals in 2010 in a trade for infielder Cristian Guzman. Fister is 3-4 with a 5.67 ERA in nine career starts against the Rangers.
The Tigers started left-handed reliever Robbie Ray on Thursday against the Rangers. But he will likely be the last left-hander the Rangers face on this road trip. The Tigers are scheduled to pitch right-handers Anibel Sanchez, Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander over the next three days and the Twins are lined up to pitch right-handers Kevin Correia, Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson and Ricky Nolasco during their four-game series with the Rangers that starts on Monday in Minnesota.
That could be good news for designated hitter Mitch Moreland and second baseman Rougned Odor. They often sit when there is a left-hander on the mound.
"I really don't pay attention a lot to who is going to be pitching," Moreland said. "I just get ready for the game and try to make something happen."
• Neftali Feliz went two innings for the first time this season on Wednesday at Triple A Round Rock. That was one of the steps the Rangers wanted him to take before considering him for promotion. He allowed a home run and struck out two. The Rangers also want to see him pitch back-to-back games, which he has not done yet.
• Nick Tepesch gets credit for a quality start by holding the Mariners to three runs in 61/3 innings on Wednesday. It was only the fourth quality start by a Rangers pitcher in May. Yu Darvish had the other three.
• Rangers leadoff hitters were 0-for-14 in the first inning over 14 straight games before Daniel Robertson walked in the first inning on Wednesday.
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.