ARLINGTON — Ian Kinsler showed signs of pain in the ninth inning Tuesday when he scored a run, and said Wednesday that he is dealing with a nagging injury.Kinsler didn’t specify where it is, saying only it’s somewhere above the ankle and below the neck. He spent close to a month on the disabled list earlier this season with a stress reaction in one of his ribs.“Everyone has problems this time of year,” Kinsler said. “I just have to manage it and make sure it doesn’t get any worse than it is.”Manager Ron Washington put Kinsler in the designated hitter slot Wednesday, and expects his everyday second baseman to return to the field Friday when the Rangers open a three-game series against the Oakland A’s.“It’s no big deal,” Washington said.Cruz updateNelson Cruz, serving a 50-game suspension through the end of the regular season for using performance-enhancing drugs, began working out at the Rangers’ facility in Surprise, Ariz., on Wednesday. He is a strong candidate to make the postseason roster, should the Rangers get that far.Cruz went through full defensive drills and batting practice with the players who are on injury rehab, and will continue workouts on Thursday.Cruz, the team’s leader in RBIs and home runs at the time of his suspension, will play in instructional league games, which begin Sept. 18.Career year?Jason Frasor is arguably having his best season in the big leagues.The 36-year-old right-hander has a 2.70 ERA over 53 appearances, and has allowed one earned run over his last nine outings. He has also stranded 17 of his last 18 inherited runners, and has found himself pitching in high-leverage situations lately.“At the beginning of the year, when I came out of spring training, my stuff was just a little ‘blah,’” Frasor said. “Now, I’m comfortable and just have so much more confidence and feel so much better about my stuff.”One reason for his success has been his changeup, which is as good as it’s ever been in his 10-year career. Batters are only hitting .125 when he throws his changeup, his best secondary pitch. His fastball and slider have been effective, too.“I’m not one of those guys that usually has all three pitches working at once,” Frasor said. “So it just depends on that day and what’s working.”Frasor said this season and 2009 are the two seasons that have stood out the most to him in his career. In 2009, he had a 2.50 ERA over 61 appearances, and even closed out 11 games for the Blue Jays.“In 2009, it was my best season and this year is my first pennant race, so it’s been great,” Frasor said.Staying confidentRobbie Ross knows he doesn’t have much margin for error at this point, which made his Tuesday outing that much more frustrating.Ross issued a full-count walk to the lone batter he faced, Neil Walker, to start the ninth inning. Walker eventually scored that inning in a 5-4 loss. Ross has allowed his last five batters faced to reach his past two outings.Before that, Ross had pitched eight scoreless innings in eight outings and looked like his early-season self. And Ross rebounded by tossing a scoreless inning Wednesday.“I still feel like that, but it’s just you go out there sometimes and you’re like, ‘What the heck?’” Ross said. “Just have to keep going out there and doing the best I can.”Ross has relied primarily on his cut fastball and slider this season but said he’s been working on his changeup. He might try to mix that in occasionally to keep batters off-balance with a slowdown pitch.Briefly• Lance Berkman has been out of the lineup for the past week. Ron Washington said there simply hasn’t been an opportunity to get the 37-year-old designated hitter a start.• Nick Tepesch remains in line to start Tuesday’s game in Tampa Bay, although that remains subject to change.• Fans can vote for their favorite broadcaster for one of three spots on the final 10-person ballot for the 2014 Ford C. Frick Award by going to www.facebook.com/baseballhall. Eric Nadel, in his 35th season of calling Rangers games, is among the broadcasters eligible, and has been a finalist for the Frick Award each of the last three years.• The Rangers’ pregame ceremonies on the 12-year anniversary of Sept. 11 included Jessica Lynch throwing out the first pitch and the 531st Air Force Quintet’s performing the national anthem. While serving in the U.S. Army during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Lynch was seriously injured and captured. She was rescued by Special Operations Forces.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison