Kinsler back in the lineup, hitting fifth

Kinsler back in the lineup, hitting fifth

SEATTLE -- Ian Kinsler, after being out of the lineup since March 12, was back in there Friday night following his activation off the disabled list. Kinsler, who has been sidelined with a sprained right ankle, was hitting fifth, but said he is ready to steal bases again if needed.

"I hope so," Kinsler said. "Time will tell, but I think I can steal bases."

It's a big part of his game. Kinsler hit 31 home runs and stole 31 bases in 2009, becoming only the second Ranger to go 30/30 in a season. He is back in the lineup even though he admitted the ankle is not 100 percent. But it's close enough to play.

"I'm able to do 100 percent of the things I want to do on the field," Kinsler said. "I wouldn't say my right ankle feels the same as my left. To me, 100 percent is when the right ankle feels like my left ankle. I don't know when that will be."

Kinsler was in the fifth spot in the order. That was manager Ron Washington's plan from the beginning of Spring Training after Kinsler spent most of last season as the Rangers' leadoff hitter.

The Rangers hope to take advantage of the power in his bat while still letting him run on the bases. Moving to the middle of the order also may reduce the excessive focus on his on-base percentage. Kinsler had a .375 on-base percentage in 2008, but it slipped to .327 last year and there was much angst over that.

"The goal is to get on base," Kinsler said. "You can't score if you don't get on base. Everybody talks about last year being a down year as far as my on-base percentage, but I still feel I'm capable of getting on base at a high rate no matter what position I'm hitting in."