CLEVELAND -- Joaquin Arias started at second base on Monday for the fourth straight day. It's an important assignment because Ian Kinsler's return is not imminent. In fact, it could be at least two more weeks before he's back. Kinsler is still not running 100 percent on his sprained right ankle. The Rangers were hoping he could be ready for a medical rehabilitation assignment by the end of this week, but that's unlikely. It's more likely that won't happen until next week when the Rangers begin a three-game series with the Red Sox in Boston. Kinsler will also likely need a week on rehab since he has been sidelined since March 12. The Rangers want him to play nine innings in consecutive games.
Arias and Andres Blanco began the season sharing the position while Kinsler remains on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle. But Arias was back in the lineup on Monday because he had eight singles in his last 12 at-bats. "I'm just riding the hot hand," Washington said. "It's hard to take him out right now." The tough decision will come once Kinsler returns. Arias has earned playing time at second base but Washington's prime pre-requisite for a utility infielder is being able to play defense at shortstop. Blanco still has the advantage in that regard. That includes at second base. Washington likes inserting Blanco for Arias on defense at second late in the game. Washington said Blanco has the stronger arm and that could make a big difference in a closer game on cutoffs and relays from the outfield.