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08/11/09 11:59 PM ET

Kinsler ready to start rehab assignment

Texas (62-49) at Cleveland (49-63), 6:05 p.m. CT

CLEVELAND -- The Rangers play the Indians on Wednesday in the second game of their three-game series, but Ian Kinsler won't be here. He will be some 1,000 miles south beginning a two-day medical rehabilitation assignment.

Kinsler has been assigned to Double-A Frisco, and the Roughriders will be in Tulsa. The plan is for Kinsler to play two games with the Roughriders and then be activated on Friday when the Rangers return home to play the Red Sox.

Kinsler has been sidelined since July 28 with a strained left hamstring.

"I still feel it, but it's not anything to worry about," Kinsler said Tuesday afternoon before leaving for Oklahoma. "It's something I've got to work with right now. It will go away once I get my feet back under me. I'm glad it's finally almost over. I've done everything I can to get ready to play again. I'm just hoping to be ready for this weekend."

Kinsler went through an extensive workout Tuesday at Progressive Field, and manager Ron Washington liked the results.

"It went really well," Washington said. "Starting, stopping, getting in the steal position, pushing off. He just needs to get it built back up. The only way to do that is to start doing baseball activities."

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia returned to the lineup on Tuesday after missing the weekend series against the Angels with a sore right shoulder. But the Rangers are still without outfielder Nelson Cruz, who remains sidelined with a sprained left ankle.

Cruz has not played since Aug. 3 in Oakland. He is available as a pinch-hitter, but the ankle is still too tender to play the field. The Rangers are still reluctant to make a roster move and put him on the disabled list because they think he is close to being ready.

"The ankle is looking much better," Washington said. "He played long-toss [Tuesday] and he still wasn't able to put enough pressure on the foot. He can swing the bat. He's available to hit, he's just not available to go in on defense."

Pitching matchup
TEX: RHP Tommy Hunter (4-2, 2.63 ERA)
Hunter is coming off a 6-4 victory over the Athletics on Thursday and is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts in August after going 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA in four July starts. Opponents are hitting .223 off him, including .247 by left-handed hitters and .200 by right-handed hitters. Hunter has allowed just one hit in 19 at-bats with runners in scoring position and two outs. This will be his first career start against the Indians.

CLE: RHP Fausto Carmona (2-6, 6.66 ERA)
Carmona has received two no-decisions for his efforts since his recall from the Minors, but he's showed marked improvement in terms of his ability to keep himself composed and not get thrown out of his delivery. He's allowed three runs in 11 innings over the two starts. Against the Twins on Thursday, he allowed a run on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts over six innings. Carmona allowed six runs on seven hits over five innings in a April 8 loss to the Rangers.

Pitcher John Bannister, who was designated for assignment last week to make room for infielder Esteban German on the 40-man roster, has been claimed by the Royals. ... Derek Holland needed just 96 pitches to shut out the Angels on Sunday. That's the third fewest pitches thrown in a complete-game shutout by a Rangers pitcher since 1988. Kevin Brown threw 79 pitches in a shutout against the Twins in '92, and Bob Tewksbury threw 95 pitches against the Yankees in '95. ... He is the first rookie to shut out the Angels since '97 and the first to do it with as few as three hits and as many as eight strikeouts. ... The Rangers don't play another American League West team until Sept. 11, but 20 of their final 23 games are within the division.

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Up next
• Thursday: Rangers (Scott Feldman, 11-4, 4.01) at Indians (Jeremy Sowers, 4-7, 4.75), 11:05 a.m. CT
• Friday: Red Sox (Jon Lester, 9-7, 3.67) at Rangers (Kevin Millwood, 9-7, 3.38), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Red Sox (Brad Penny, 7-6, 5.16) at Rangers (Derek Holland, 5-7, 5.04), 7:05 p.m. CT

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.