Rangers activate Ian Kinsler from disabled list, keep Jurickson Profar around

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Ian Kinsler has been activated from the disabled list and will bat leadoff and play second base this afternoon against the Blue Jays. In turn, the Rangers have optioned Leury Garcia to Triple-A Round Rock and will keep Jurickson Profar around in a utility role.

Kinsler has been sidelined since May 17 due to a right intercostal strain, but he made it through two rehab games with Double-A Frisco without any issues. The 30-year-old returns to a .302/.369/.500 batting line to go along with seven home runs, 20 RBI, and three stolen bases in 40 games this season.

Profar, who was called up from the minors after Kinsler was injured, is batting .278/.326/.392 with two home runs, three doubles, and seven RBI in 87 plate appearances. It could be a challenge to get him enough at-bats to justify keeping him with the big club, so Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com notes that the Rangers plan to have him work with third base coach Gary Pettis on outfield drills. It should be an interesting situation to monitor.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.