Badly in need of some good medical news, the Texas Rangers finally received some Monday afternoon.
The best of it was the sight of Ian Kinsler back on the field.
The second baseman and leadoff hitter, out of the starting lineup since May 17, played catch and did infield work for the first time since suffering a stress reaction in his ribcage.
Kinsler also hit off a tee in the batting cages, though he started doing that over the weekend. The plan is to see how he feels Tuesday before going forward with more work.
But Kinsler seemed to think that he could come off the disabled list before the current homestand, the longest of the season, ends June 20.
“I’m getting close,” Kinsler said. “You basically have to ramp it up every day, do a little more activity and see how it responds. It’s still a process.
“This is probably the most frustrating part of the process just because I took ground balls, I swung, I threw. When it gets to that point, you feel like you can play, but you have to go through a process to make sure you’re ready to go game speed.”
First baseman Mitch Moreland had a good day, too. He went on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a strained right hamstring, but ran Monday at 60 percent and has had no issues with any agility exercises thrown at him.
He expects to be back June 21, the first day he is eligible for reinstatement.
“I’ve got a pretty good plan together, and we’re going to stick with that,” Moreland said. “Right now, it feels pretty good.”
Pitchers progress, too
Right-hander Colby Lewis could be on the mound next week for a bullpen session after a second straight day of throwing without pain in his triceps, and left-hander Matt Harrison could take a big step in his recovery next week by throwing for the first time since having a second back operation.
Lewis threw up to 70 feet on Monday and plans to progress at 15 feet a day before reaching at least 120 feet. He said his arm feels as good as it has since he left Arizona last month for a rehab start with Double A Frisco.
“I had a little bit on it,” said Lewis, who had surgery for torn flexor tendon in July. “I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing.”
Shortstop Elvis Andrus entered the homestand batting only .205 as the leadoff hitter in Ian Kinsler’s absence, lowering his average to .250.
Manager Ron Washington, though, said he has no other option and will keep putting Andrus atop the lineup even though he might be pressing.
“The type of personality Elvis is, he might be putting too much pressure on himself,” Washington said. “He might be trying to do too much.”
Andrus typically hits second, a spot where Washington believes he is better suited. But Washington also believes Andrus can be a leadoff man as long as he keeps his usual mindset.
“Every position in that lineup there’s a job to be done, and not everyone can do it,” Washington said. “Do I think he can handle the spot? Yeah, but sometimes wanting to be very good you get outside of what you should be doing.”