CHICAGO -- Left-hander Martin Perez, working his way back from a fractured throwing arm sustained in Spring Training, made his first rehab appearance on Monday with Double-A Frisco.
Perez was struck by a line drive on March 3, after it looked as if he would secure the No. 5 spot in the Texas rotation. Now, with him and last year's Opening Day starter Colby Lewis (left elbow) inching closer to a return to the big leagues, the Rangers may have some decisions to make.
"No guarantees," manager Ron Washington said of Perez joining the rotation when healthy. "It's a possibility, but no guarantee. There's a difference."
Perez allowed five hits in four innings, surrendering one earned run while striking out one. He did not walk a batter.
Washington said Perez has thrown in extended spring training games in Arizona to prepare for his rehab starts, so the purpose of the Minor League outings will be solely for building arm strength. Perez is expected to be on an incremental pitch count after his 53-pitch outing on Monday.
"He's starting to get built up. That's it," Washington said. "And once he gets built up where he can throw over 100 pitches, stay in a game as long as he's effective, then he's ready. That's what this is."
With Lewis guaranteed a spot in the rotation when he also returns, Washington said he wouldn't speculate which circumstances would shift Lewis and/or Perez into the rotation and drop Justin Grimm and/or Nick Tepesch out.
"I can only give you the circumstances when that becomes a reality, when I can sit down with everybody and we discuss what we think is best for us," Washington said. "But for me to say it right now when [Perez] just left Arizona, I don't think that would be right for the other guys that have an opinion."
Lewis was shut down midway through last season with a torn flexor tendon in his throwing elbow, which required surgery. He has thrown in extended spring training, and is expected to pitch for Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday.
"It's great that we're getting our pitching back," Washington said. "It's our depth. But I think it's all gonna come down to what's best for us and what's best for the player at the time. If we all feel that Tepesch needs to be here or Grimm needs to be here, those other guys are just going to have to wait their turn."
Washington continues to praise Kinsler's offense
CHICAGO -- Some numbers indicate Ian Kinsler is having a far better 2013 compared to past seasons. But Rangers manager Ron Washington isn't buying it.
The Rangers leadoff man and second baseman was considered by many to have had down years in 2011 and 2012 because he hit .255 and .256, respectively, after batting .286 in 2010. Kinsler is a career .274 hitter, and is off to a torrid .333 start this year.
"He's not making any more difference than he's been making," Washington said. "Last year he had an 'off-year' and he still put up  runs on the board, scoring-wise. All people wanted to talk about was the average. He crossed the dish. The year before, he crossed the dish a ton. The only difference now is he's got a .330 average and I guess that makes him a quality leadoff hitter."
Kinsler has a career OPS of .815 that didn't waver much the last few seasons. Through 30 games this season, he's at what would be a career-best .946. He's scored at least 100 runs in four of the last five seasons and entered Monday with a team-best 19.
"I don't hear complaints coming out of other towns about their leadoff hitter that's hitting .280 and scoring 90 runs," Washington said. "This man hits .260-something and scored close to 120. … And you take his RBIs and add them to his runs scored, he produces almost 200-some runs. Take those other guys, and I guarantee they're around 150-160."
Kinsler was third in the American League last year in runs scored, behind Rookie of the Year Mike Trout (129) and MVP Miguel Cabrera (109).
• The Rangers are in the middle of three games in three cities in three days, with this one-day trip to Chicago to make up the postponed game from April 17 against the Cubs.
The Rangers arrived in Chicago from Texas at about 1:30 a.m. Monday, then will depart for a two-game series in Milwaukee that begins on Tuesday. They have an off-day Thursday before opening a weekend series in Houston.
• Washington said A.J. Pierzynski's day off on Monday was just that, and not related to his four-strikeout afternoon on Sunday or his sore right oblique.
"He was cool with it," Washington said of Pierzynski. "Whether he had a choice of not, he was cool with it."
• Outfielder David Murphy was back in Monday's lineup after dealing with a stomach virus this weekend. He was better on Sunday after dealing with the 24-hour bug -- he had a pinch-hit single in the series finale against the Red Sox -- but still came to the park late and left early to stay away from other players. Monday, he was in the clubhouse early with his teammates.
"He felt better [Sunday]," Washington said. "He was able to go out there and perform and hopefully today he's feeling even better. The cool weather should be fine. The cool weather should keep his energy up a little bit."