Ian Kinsler (ankle sprain) works out in cleats

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Ian Kinsler headshot.jpgAccording to Ray Buck of the Dallas Morning News, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler is finally beginning to show progress in his recovery from a high ankle sprain.  He worked out Sunday in cleats for the first time since March 12, taking grounders and turning double plays.  He tried to run, though, and could only push it at about half effort.

Kinsler won’t be cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment until he can run at 100 percent, and that could mean another two weeks.  Joaquin Arias has seen a good chunk of time at second base and is 8-for-16 with three runs scored.  Andres Blanco, 0-for-5, has also seen some playing time at the position.

Kinsler, 27, boasts an 827 career OPS and hit .253/.327/.488 last season with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 566 at-bats.  The Rangers are hoping he’ll rejoin the club by the end of April.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.