Since July 2, Kang had played almost daily (49 of 52 games) and mainly at short (32 of his past 36 starts) entering Thursday's game, a 5-3 loss to the Brewers. Both of those will change down the stretch.
With Jordy Mercer back in action, most of Kang's future starts will come at third base because, as Hurdle said, "there's more intensity when you play shortstop than third base."
"We're trying to find some down time for him, and third base is another option moving forward," said Hurdle, who must find a balance between using Kang's power -- Tuesday, he slugged his 13th homer, No. 9 since the All-Star break -- and preserving his "energy level."
"The man always tells you he is ready. My eyes, and various indicators, are telling me something different," Hurdle went on. "I do see a difference. I talk to people, to the players ... [Kang] wants to play, to compete, every day. But he also has got to be put in position to play well."
The difference to which Hurdle alluded is apparent in the field, not in the box. Since the midseason break, Kang has hit .315, with the nine homers among his 21 extra-base hits. His second-half OPS is .955.
Touching all the bases
• First: Corey Hart has been returned from his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis. Hart will not be activated, but will remain on the disabled list for the remainder of the season. He has returned home to Arizona. He last played June 21 before going on the DL with an impingement in the left shoulder.
• Second: Mark Melancon (55), Tony Watson (54) and Jared Hughes (50) are among the 18 MLB relievers who have had at least 50 scoreless appearances this season.
• Third: Entering Thursday, the Bucs had already turned 151 double plays; they had a total of 148 last season.
• Home: Aramis Ramirez's pair of three-run homers in the past week are two more than Pedro Alvarez has in the past year.