6/15/2013 4:30 P.M. ET
Moreland eligible to come off DL Friday; Baker sidelined
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- First baseman Mitch Moreland, sidelined with a strained right hamstring, said he is ready to come off the disabled list and is eligible on Friday. Moreland is taking batting practice and running the bases without problems.
He will likely get 2-3 games on a medical rehabilitation assignment later this week just to get at-bats, but Moreland said he is ready right now.
Jeff Baker is not. He is still sidelined with a sprained right thumb, the result of an over-exuberant teammate giving him an excessive high-five before Friday's game. Baker reported slight improvement on Saturday, but he is still not able to grip a bat.
"Any improvement is encouraging," Baker said. "The whole situation is frustrating, but it's going to get better."
The Rangers have not considered putting Baker on the disabled list. His primary role is hitting against left-handed pitchers, and the Rangers aren't scheduled to face one until Wednesday when Tommy Milone pitches for the Athletics.
Rangers activate Kinsler, keep Profar in Majors
ARLINGTON -- Second baseman Ian Kinsler told the Rangers that he was ready, so the team activated him off the disabled list on Saturday. The Rangers also kept infielder and top prospect Jurickson Profar on the Major League roster and optioned Leury Garcia to Triple-A Round Rock.
Profar will serve as the Rangers' utility infielder, backing up Kinsler, shortstop Elvis Andrus and third baseman Adrian Beltre. He could also see time in the outfield once he gets some training from outfield coach Gary Pettis. They had their first session out there on Saturday afternoon during batting practice.
Manager Ron Washington said he does not know how much Profar will play, but it will be more than Garcia did as the utility infielder. Profar could play as much as 3-4 times a week as the Rangers start giving time off to their regulars during the hot summer months.
"[Profar's] gained a lot of credibility in that clubhouse," manager Ron Washington said. "He's showed he can play. He's one of our best 25. We'll just figure it out how we're going to do it.
"There is no set number. When I decide it's time for him to play, he's going to play. Those guys know he can help us win."
Beltre and Kinsler could also get days at designated hitter to give Lance Berkman time off. Berkman has been the Rangers' regular designated hitter, but he went into Saturday's game hitting .203 with a .285 slugging percentage, two home runs and six RBIs in his last 20 games.
"We wouldn't have kept him if he wasn't going to play," general manager Jon Daniels said. "I'm not saying every day, but if he wouldn't be in the mix on a semi-regular basis, it wouldn't have made sense to keep him here. We didn't make too much about how many at-bats or how many games.
"We're trying to win games. We're trying to put the best club out there, give Wash options. We're a little banged up and not playing as well as we're capable of. We're going to try to keep our best roster up here in the big leagues. It'll play itself out, I'm confident in that."
Profar is also a switch-hitter, which adds to his versatility. He went into Saturday's game batting .278 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 21 games. He was called up on May 19 after Kinsler went on the disabled list with a stress reaction in his right ribcage.
"This what I want ... I want to be here," Profar said. "[Washington] just said he would do his best to get me in there."
Kinsler was activated after going 0-for-8 with a walk in two games with Double-A Frisco on a medical rehabilitation assignment. He was used as the designated hitter on Thursday and at second base on Friday. The original plan was for Kinsler to play on Saturday night for Frisco, but he convinced the Rangers to activate him instead.
"There is no point playing nine innings at Double-A when I can play nine innings here," Kinsler said. "I voiced that before my rehab assignment, although it was useful to get some at-bats. I'm healthy and that's all that matters. I'm ready to play."
"He feels good physically, and our medical staff was confident he was as healthy as he's going to be," Daniels said. "Normally we'd like a few more at-bats from a timing standpoint, but we're scuffling a little bit right now. He sees that, and he wants to be here. We're on the same mindset. If we can get him back to give a little lift to the club, we're all for it."
Kinsler immediately went into the leadoff spot in the lineup, with Andrus back in the No. 2 spot. Going into Saturday, the Rangers were 26-14 when Kinsler is in the lineup. They were 11-14 in 25 games while he was on the disabled list.
"He means a lot to us," Andrus said. "He makes our lineup a whole lot different. I've always said he's one of the best leadoff hitters in the game. He gets on base a lot and makes it better for the rest of us."
Recent woes begin with runners in scoring position
ARLINGTON -- Elvis Andrus admitted the Rangers' offensive struggles played a part in him getting ejected in the sixth inning of Friday's 8-0 loss to the Blue Jays. Andrus was technically ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Eric Cooper.
"It was more the whole deal ... the way we're playing," Andrus said. "Everything we're doing is going bad. Every time we create an opportunity or a rally, we get cut off. That's mostly why I went off. I learned my lesson."
The Rangers went into Saturday with a record of 4-9 in June, and they were also batting .216 with a .365 slugging percentage for the month. They had a .167 average with runners in scoring position, including a 2-for-14 stretch in their last four games.
"In those situations, it begins and ends with getting a good pitch to hit," hitting coach Dave Magadan said. "Those are the times when good pitchers bring out their full arsenal and start nibbling, trying to get guys to chase. Whether it's the first pitch or the fifth pitch, you've got to be ready for a good pitch to hit. If it's the first pitch, you have to be ready to hit it.
"When you see guys who consistently have good at-bats with runners in scoring position, those are guys who are focused on pitches in the strike zone and don't chase."
The Rangers went into Saturday's game batting .262, the fourth-best average in the league. Their slugging percentage of .430 was the third highest and they were second with 84 home runs, but they were ninth with 293 runs scored.
"We've got to do the little things; we can't depend on the two- or three-run home run," Magadan said. "We have to be better at situational hitting and running the bases. In a stretch like this, there are a lot of factors."
• Pitcher Alexi Ogando, who is on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, threw long toss in the outfield on Saturday. There is no word yet on when he'll throw off a mound.
• Colby Lewis, still on a recovery program from last year's surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon, said he is hoping to resume throwing off a mound on Monday. He has been limited to playing catch the past week, while waiting for the soreness in the back of his right elbow to subside.
• Joakim Soria, recovering from both Tommy John elbow reconstruction and a strained right shoulder, had no problems after a 30-plus pitch batting practice session on Friday. He has another one on Monday and could be close to being sent on medical rehabilitation assignment in the Minor Leagues.
• The Rangers are scheduled to face the Cardinals' top three starting pitchers next weekend in St. Louis. Lance Lynn is scheduled to pitch on Friday, with Shelby Miller on Saturday and Adam Wainwright on Sunday.
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.