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Thursday, April 29, 2010
Thoughts on roster decision for Kinsler

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Assuming second baseman Ian Kinsler (right high ankle sprain) feels good the morning after his third rehab outing for Double-A Frisco, he's just about ready to return. And Kinsler is coming off a really good game on Wednesday with two RBIs, two hits and a stolen base. I wouldn't be surprised if he fights like crazy to get in the lineup today against the White Sox, but the more likely scenario is that Kinsler plays for the first time in 2010 when the club plays in Seattle on Friday.

Whenever Kinsler returns, the Rangers face a tough decision on the roster. Here are some options:

* They could option Joaquin Arias. He is out of options and it's likely he would not clear waivers. The infielder has split time with Andres Blanco at second base in Kinsler's absence and has provided some solid offense. Arias also helped his cause with a big two-RBI single with two outs in the first on Wednesday. He got the hit with two strikes, too. He had just one RBI before that hit. Arias has been a singles machine, with 14 of his 16 hits of the single variety (the other two were doubles). He is not the club's strongest defensive utility option (that's Blanco), but has shown the most at the plate. Arias has played fairly regularly, though he did have some recent back soreness. Could he keep up his strong showing at the plate if he sits on the bench for a week at a time?

* They could option Andres Blanco. But like Arias, he would have to clear waivers and probably wouldn't. I'll be honest: I don't see the club doing this. Blanco is the better option defensively and has experience at shortstop. Arias could play short in a pinch, but there's no question Blanco is more suited there. I can't see the team without a viable backup shortstop. But Blanco hasn't produced much with the bat, hitting .240 (6-for-25). But he gives the club a solid defensive backup option up the middle.

* Keep Arias and Blanco and option Ryan Garko. Yes, Garko would probably also not get through waivers, but the club could keep both infielders. The only issue there is that neither really plays first. Max Ramirez can and could be another right-handed bat there should the switch-hitting Justin Smoak need some time off. Garko has taken a while to get going, though he hasn't had many opportunities. He got his first hit as a Ranger on Tuesday and is 1-for-14 on the year. But he's got some experience and knows how to play first.

* Put someone on the disabled list. There are some players dealing with some nagging injuries. Arias and Darren O'Day have had back issues. If one goes on the DL, that would create some space. That way Kinsler could return and the Rangers wouldn't have to send anyone out.

What would you do if you were the Rangers?