Blanco rewarded for good play

Blanco rewarded for good play

ARLINGTON -- Andres Blanco, with Ian Kinsler expected to be activated in the next few days, was in the lineup at second base on Monday for the fourth time in five days.

Joaquin Arias is still hitting .341, but Blanco went into Monday's game with four hits in his last nine at-bats and three starts. The Rangers won all three games. Blanco started the season 0-for-9.

"I've always liked what I've seen from Blanco," manager Ron Washington said. "I'm just trying to get him some playing time. He keeps playing great defense, he has a lot of energy and he's getting some hits."

Blanco started rolling at the plate after beating out a bunt single with two outs and a runner on third base in the seventh inning of Thursday's 3-0 victory over the Red Sox.

"I was struggling a little bit and I didn't have the confidence going up to the plate," Blanco said. "Runner on third ... I didn't want to be the last out. I thought, 'What's my best weapon ... bunt single.' The guy was playing behind the bag, I finally did it and we scored a run."

Kinsler, who has been sidelined since March 12 with a sprained right ankle, began his medical rehabilitation assignment on Monday night with Double-A Frisco. The plan was for him to play second base for nine innings and bat leadoff. The Rangers are hoping he will play three games at Frisco and be ready to be activated on Friday when they open a three-game series against the Mariners in Seattle.

At that point, the Rangers will likely have to make a decision between Arias and Blanco as to who will remain behind as their utility infielder. The Rangers could keep both but that would mean dropping Ryan Garko, their backup first baseman.

"Anything's possible but that's not something that has been discussed," Washington said.

Blanco was 2-for-4 with one strikeout in Monday's loss to the Tigers.