09/04/10 8:00 PM ET
Hamilton, Andrus out at least few games
Outfielder bruises ribs on catch; shortstop has tight hamstring
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Kinsler's time off benefits ankle
MINNEAPOLIS -- Ian Kinsler was sidelined for over a month with a strained left groin muscle. Now that he is off the disabled list and playing again, he found that the time off proved to be a big help to his right ankle.Kinsler sprained the ankle in Spring Training and missed the first month of the season. But the ankle was still affecting him even when he returned at the end of April. Now, after returning to the Rangers' lineup Friday night, Kinsler said he can tell a big difference after missing a month to deal with the groin injury. "[Friday] was probably the best I've felt since Spring Training ... since I rolled the ankle in Spring Training," said Kinsler, who was 1-for-4 with a single Friday night. "The ankle is a lot stronger before I went on the disabled list. "That did a lot for it. I didn't think it would do anything because it wasn't getting any better. But that time off really helped. [Friday] night, I made a couple of plants on the ankle that used to bother me, but now they don't. I feel great right now. It's a lot better than what it was."
Francoeur gets start against right-hander
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jeff Francoeur was in the Rangers' lineup on Saturday even though the right-hander Carl Pavano was starting for the Twins. Francoeur was supposed to start on Sunday against left-hander Brian Duensing and the original plan was to start him exclusively against left-handers.But Duensing had to be used in relief Thursday in a 13-inning game and has been pushed back in Minnesota's rotation. Right-hander Nick Blackburn is starting Sunday instead. Manager Ron Washington did not want Francoeur, who was acquired from the Mets earlier this week, sitting around for three days and not playing, especially since the Rangers expect to see some left-handed pitching in Toronto next week. Ricky Romero is pitching Monday and Marc Rzepczynski is scheduled for Thursday. "I decided to get Francoeur some at-bats before we go to Toronto," Washington said. "Otherwise he would have been sitting for a week. This is a chance for him to see some pitches." The Rangers went with an outfield of Nelson Cruz in left, Josh Hamilton in center and Francoeur in right. It may be the single best throwing outfield ever for the Rangers. Francoeur is a Gold Glove winner who has been either first or second in outfield assists over in the National League for each of the past six seasons. "I've never seen a guy stop a running game like Frenchy," veteran infielder Alex Cora said. "You talk about run prevention, with those arms, we have it."
Club still lacking pinch-runner
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rangers have reinforced their bench and bullpen with some September callups, but are still lacking a late-inning pinch-runner. That's one role that contenders usually address with September callups, but the Rangers have not done that."We're going to have to discuss that," manager Ron Washington admitted. There are two possibilities at Triple-A in infielder Esteban German and outfielder Willy Taveras. But neither are on Texas' 40-man roster. The Rangers used Alex Cora in the ninth inning Friday, but he was thrown out trying to go from first to third on Julio Borbon's single. Washington said he used Cora in that situation because he likes his experience. "I felt like his experience would come into play," Washington said. "I like his aggressiveness, but you just have to make sure when you do something like that in that situation, you have to be 100 percent sure you can make it."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.