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Kinsler Still Plugging Away in Leadoff

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Kinsler Still Plugging Away in Leadoff

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Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers shatters his bat on a pitch against the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 1, 2011.

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First off, I have to admit, I have an affinity for Ian Kinsler and what he brings to the table. I like his brash style that borders on cockiness.

But right now, he's really got no reason to have that swagger.

Kinsler ripped opposing pitching to shreds in the spring and appeared poised to have a great season as the Texas Rangers leadoff man and hopefully bring back memories of a couple of years back when he was a 30 HR, 30 stolen bases guy. Visions of Rickey Henderson danced in Rangers fans' heads.

But so far, the Kinsler batting leadoff has been a pretty big disaster.

He's best hitting in the 5 or 6 hole where he can drive in runs and not be counted on as a table setter, which he plainly isn't.

Kinsler is hitting .238 this season with an on-base percentage of .344, both of which are well below his career marks.

In the last couple of games against the White Sox, he's shown signs of breaking out of his slump, going a combined 4-for-7 with two walks and two runs scored, but before that it was just downright ugly.

In the previous seven games, Kinsler was 2-for-26 with one run scored and three walks.

One criticism or compliment, depending on how you see it, of Ron Washington is that he trusts his players more than most managers to get themselves out of funks and lets them battle through their issues.

Has Kinsler turned the corner on doing that? If so, the Rangers will be better for it. Otherwise, it's time to drop him in the lineup and give someone like Julio Borbon a try when he gets back from his DL stint.

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