ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington was impressed by the groundskeepers' ability to fix a broken pipe before Tuesday's game against the Indians.
Head groundskeeper Dennis Klein said it was not a sinkhole, but the broken pipe caused the ground to rise about a foot behind the mound before batting practice. Batting practice for both teams was cancelled as the groundskeepers replaced four feet of pipe that was five feet underground.
"Fortunately it was one area of the field that doesn't see a whole lot of action," Klein said.
The saturated area was about seven-by-seven feet. The grounds crew removed the turf in 18 pieces and set it on plywood. They repaired the pipe, filled the hole with sand and placed the grass back in the area before first pitch.
"I don't think there's anything that happens on a baseball field that those guys can't fix," Washington said. "It just depends on the timing, and the timing was good. If the timing would've happened close to game time, maybe it would've blown that game up."
It's the second consecutive homestand where the grounds crew has dealt with unusual issues. The Rangers-D-backs game on May 29 was postponed due to unplayable conditions. The grounds crew struggled to get the tarp on the field as they battled with high winds at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Klein and his crew successfully worked throughout the night to fix the infield for a day game against Arizona the next day.
Harrison hopes to begin throwing program on Monday
ARLINGTON -- Matt Harrison, who is on the disabled list after undergoing back surgery earlier this season, is hoping to begin a throwing program on Monday. But it could be September before he is back in the Rangers' rotation.
Harrison said he has been told to take it slow even after he begins his throwing program. That could mean throwing on flat ground for 4-6 weeks before getting back on the mound. Once Harrison gets on the mound, it could be at least another month before he could build up enough arm strength and endurance to be in a Major League rotation.
"I haven't thrown in two months," Harrison said. "It would be like starting my offseason throwing program. It's frustrating, but it could be worse. I could have missed the whole year. I want to get it right in the next two months and be back at the end of the year. But it's probably going to be another two months for sure."
Harrison is one of three key starting pitchers on the disabled list. Colby Lewis remains limited to playing catch in his rehab program but is hoping to get back on the mound soon. He was shut down from his rehabilitation assignment because of soreness in the back of his right elbow. He is now 10 1/2 months removed from surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon.
Alexi Ogando is on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder and has not resumed throwing. But the Rangers are still planning on him returning to the rotation when he is healthy.
Kinsler to begin rehab assignment on Thursday
ARLINGTON -- Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler went through a full workout Wednesday and has been cleared for a rehabilitation assignment. He will report to Double-A Frisco on Thursday night.
Kinsler, who has been on the disabled list since May 18 with a strained muscle in his right ribcage, went through full batting practice and fielded ground balls before the Rangers' game against the Indians on Wednesday. Kinsler said he feels fine, and he's ready to play.
"I haven't had anything physical to tell me not to continue to push it, continue on the same path," Kinsler said. "Hopefully I can get on the field real quick."
The plan for Kinsler is to be used as a designated hitter on Thursday night and then play second base on Friday and Saturday. He could be activated off the disabled list either Sunday or Monday based on how the three games go.
Rangers mull decision on Profar's status with club
ARLINGTON -- With Ian Kinsler getting ready to return from the disabled list, the Rangers are discussing what to do with infielder Jurickson Profar.
Profar was called up from Triple-A Round Rock when Kinsler went on the disabled list, but it's not automatic that he will be sent down. There is a possibility that he could replace Leury Garcia as the Rangers' utility infielder.
"Basically there are two options," general manager Jon Daniels said. "One is Jurickson going down and playing every day, kind of like where we were at the beginning of the season. The other is Leury goes down and Jurickson stays. In that scenario, the thought behind it is work him in the lineup three or four days a week, keep other guys off the field in the heat of the summer and keep them fresh. We haven't made a decision yet."
The question is how much Profar would be able to play with Kinsler at second and Elvis Andrus at shortstop. Both are All-Star caliber players who are used to playing every day.
"It all depends," Daniels said. "If we have a lineup that is going great and everybody is healthy, it's a challenge. If we have guys banged up and can use a day here or there, it's a different story. That's the discussion we have to have."
Andrus had his own opinion on what should happen with Profar.
"He has too much talent to sit around and play once a week," Andrus said. "I think the best for him is to keep playing and get better in every part of his game. We'll see what happens when Ian gets back."
Washington gives Andrus game off to rest
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington gave Elvis Andrus the day off on Wednesday against the Indians without objection from the shortstop.
"I must be correct because he hasn't stepped in here at all," Washington said.
Washington attempted to give Andrus a day off during the team's last homestand, but Andrus talked his way back into the lineup. He felt he could work his way out of his slump at the plate, but that didn't happen. Andrus is hitting .188 (15-of-80) in his last 20 games.
"I think last time was my last pass," Andrus said. "He knows that I need a day off. I've been playing a lot lately, and it's going to be an interesting rest of the week. I guess I got to take it today."
Andrus thinks it will be an interesting week with the Blue Jays and Athletics in town for eight games following the Indians series. While he wants to play every day, Andrus said he needs to take a day off to rest his body so he can play at a consistent level the rest of the season.
"It's going to be a great rest of the week with interesting games, and today I'm just going to take it," Andrus said. "Sometimes in the sixth or seventh inning, I always end up playing in the game, but today I'm going to take it to rest my body and get ready for the season."
• Jeff Baker started at second base for the Rangers over utility infielder Garcia on Wednesday. Washington said he wanted to give Baker a chance at the plate against Indians right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.
• The Rangers placed Michael Kirkman on the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday. He is getting ready to undergo treatments for a recurrence of cutaneous lymphoma on his right triceps and won't be eligible to come off the DL until Aug. 6.
• The Rangers signed third-round pick David Ledbetter on Wednesday. The right-handed pitcher is the twin brother of 19th-round selection Ryan Ledbetter, who signed with the Rangers on Sunday. The Rangers have now signed 12 of their first 13 selections.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.