Kinsler hopes to return at end of month

BOSTON -- Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler went through an extensive on-field workout before Tuesday's game against the Boston Red Sox and hopes to return at the end of the month.

Manager Ron Washington said that if Kinsler recovers well from the session, he would work out again Wednesday and could be sent out on a rehab assignment later this week. After that, it could take through the next homestand (the end of the month) before he's ready.

The club still wants to see Kinsler do some explosive running, something he wasn't scheduled to do Tuesday.

Kinsler, who has been out of the lineup since suffering a right high ankle sprain March 12, fielded ground balls in various directions, worked on spinning and starting double plays, received some one-on-one fielding instruction from Washington and ran in the outfield. He was also scheduled to run the bases during batting practice. General manager Jon Daniels, trainer Jose Vazquez and Washington kept a close eye on Kinsler.

"I've done a lot more today than I've done any other day," said Kinsler, who added that the injury was more like tendinitis in his ankle. "I feel fine. I think it's just that I have to build some strength back up [in the ankle and legs] and I'd prefer to do that on the field."

Kinsler said he felt good following the workout and is clearly hungry to get back on the field. He added that if he feels good Wednesday, he'd like to be sent out right away for his rehab work. And he'd prefer to do it in Arizona, where he can get more at-bats and play however many innings he feels are necessary in the field.

Kinsler conceded that he'd likely have to play a few games with Triple-A Oklahoma or Double-A Frisco before returning to the majors. He believes it's still possible he could be ready to return for the road trip that begins April 30.

Kinsler said the explosive running might be something he builds toward while on a rehab assignment.

Kinsler, 27, has had at least two cortisone injections in the ankle and has continued to throw and lift weights, but he hadn't been able to do much lateral movement until recently. This marks the fifth straight season that Kinsler has had a stint on the disabled list. Kinsler injured the ankle slipping on the grass during morning drills in spring training March 12.

Kinsler had 31 homers and 31 stolen bases in 144 games for the Rangers in 2009. He hit .253 and had 86 RBIs.

The second baseman batted .319 with 18 homers and 71 RBIs in 2008 before sports hernia surgery ended his season prematurely.

The plan before the season was to have Kinsler bat fifth, adding some punch to the middle of the Rangers' order. When Kinsler returns, the club will have to decide which backup infielder to keep. Joaquin Arias, who is off to a hot start at the plate, and Andres Blanco, known more for his defensive skills, both are out of options.

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.