Kinsler batting sixth but will leadoff again
Rangers manager Ron Washington put Ian Kinsler in the sixth spot in the lineup for Saturday’s game with the Red Sox. Julio Borbon, who is still here because Nelson Cruz is on the disabled list, was the Rangers leadoff hitter against Red Sox right-handed starter Brad Penny.
“Kinsler will be back up there against left-handers and against right-handers when Nelson Cruz gets back,” Washington said. “We’re going to try and see if we can use Borbon’s talents at the top of the lineup.”
Washington also wanted to break up his left-handed hitters in the lower half of the order. On Friday, he had Josh Hamilton fifth, Hank Blalock sixth and David Murphy seventh. On Saturday, Kinsler was hitting between Hamilton and Murphy.
Kinsler, who was activated off the disabled list on Friday after missing 16 days with a strained left hamstring muscle, was surprised to see that he was out of the top spot.
“I’m going to be where I am and where they put me,” Kinsler said. “I’ve been batting leadoff for a year-and-a-half, now I’m batting sixth, it’s not going to change the way I play.”
Kinsler has the attributes of a middle-of-the-order power guy. He went into Saturday’s game hitting .242 with 23 home runs and a club-leading 63 RBI. But he was also leading the team with 71 runs scored and 22 stolen bases.
“I don’t know if your power numbers say where you should be hitting in the lineup,” Kinsler said. “It’s the type of player you are. Obviously I’m familiar with leading off. I like hitting there. That’s my preference.”
Bullpen update: Washington said he wants to stay away from using Frank Francisco on Saturday night after he pitched in back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday. But Washington made it clear that Francisco is still the closer even though he gave up six runs in the ninth inning in Friday’s 8-4 loss.