ARLINGTON -- Ron Washington's AL squad lost to Bruce Bochy's National League squad, 5-1, last year, but the Rangers manager is looking forward to going back to the All-Star Game.With a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place, all pitchers will be eligible to take the mound in the All-Star Game, where previously players who pitched on the Sunday before were ineligible. "It means everything," Washington said. "I can go there with the best the American League has to offer. The National League certainly had the best they had to offer. That's for sure. Make no excuse, we got beat. It it don't work out, you can blame me." Washington's Rangers finish a three-game series against Jim Leyland's Tigers Wednesday. Washington said that Leyland has not made any suggestions on behalf of his players but knows that Justin Verlander is among the candidates to start for the AL in this year's All-Star Game. "Whatever Jimmy asks, Jimmy gets," Washington said. "He's a veteran of many All-Star Games, many World Series, many ballgames. Jimmy doesn't make suggestions. He just holds conversations." The league that wins the All-Star Game will also hold home-field advantage in the World Series. The Rangers, despite winning six more games than the Cardinals in 2011, were a victim of that rule last year. "I'd like to have more games at home if I'm in the World Series," Washington said. "I've heard people say it's a disadvantage, but I didn't think it was a disadvantage. We still could've won, whether we were in St. Louis or Texas."
Olt, Profar excited to play in Futures Game
FRISCO, Texas -- For the second straight year, shortstop Jurickson Profar will be one of two prospects to represent the Rangers at the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game.Profar, who spent last year with Class A Hickory, went 1-for-2 with an RBI triple in the 2011 Futures Game, while Martin Perez, then with Double-A Frisco, gave up one run on two hits in an inning of work. This year, Profar and a Frisco teammate, first baseman Mike Olt, are headed to the annual contest, but they'll be in different dugouts. Olt will play for the American team, while Profar will suit up for the World squad. "I was looking forward to going to the Futures Game again, especially with [Olt]," Profar said. "Last year was a great game. I'm going to be facing some really good pitchers. It's the best of the best over there." Profar, 19, is hitting .289 with seven home runs and 34 RBIs this year. The Rangers' top prospect, according to MLB.com, Profar had a 29-game hit streak this season and reached base in 50 straight games. Olt is hitting .305 with 20 home runs and a Texas League-leading 58 RBIs. He's hitting .358 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs in his last 27 games, including three straight two-homer games to begin this month, although he has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury. "June has been going well," Olt said. "I made some adjustments early and carried it into June. I'm going to try to continue what I've been doing."
The Futures Game will be held at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Sunday, July 8, at 4 p.m. CT.
Holland makes first rehab start
ARLINGTON -- Injured Rangers pitcher Derek Holland made his first rehab start with Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday, going three innings and giving up one run.Holland worked a scoreless first and second inning before Dayton Buller hit his first home run of the year off the left-hander with one out in the third. Holland threw 39 pitches, 24 for strikes, gave up three hits and struck out one while walking two. It was the first of at least two Minor League rehab starts for Holland, who will pitch again Monday when Round Rock faces New Orleans. He intended to throw around 50 pitches Wednesday and will look to throw between 75 and 80 on Monday. After that outing, the Rangers will decide whether to call him up. The Rangers placed Holland on the 15-day disabled list on June 7 with left elbow fatigue. He is one of five Texas pitchers, including three starters, currently on the DL. Relievers Koji Uehara (lat strain) and Alexi Ogando (strained groin), along with starters Colby Lewis (forearm tightness) and Neftali Feliz (elbow inflammation) are on the DL and not expected to return before the All-Star break.
Hamilton working way out of slump
ARLINGTON -- After hitting just one home run in his first 19 games this month, Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton has homered twice in his last two games entering Wednesday's finale with the Detroit Tigers.Coming into this three-game series, Hamilton, the American League Player of the Month in May, was hitting .194 with 27 strikeouts in June. He had only two hits in the series' first two games, but they were both home runs, marking the seventh time this season Hamilton homered in consecutive games. "Right now, it's just go up there and whatever happens happens," Hamilton said. "The biggest thing is seeing pitches and not swinging at pitches out of the zone." Hamilton's solo home run in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 7-5 win was his 24th of the year, giving him the most homers through 75 games in team history. Despite his recent struggles -- he has struck out 13 times in his last seven games -- his 67 RBIs and .656 slugging percentage still lead the Major Leagues. "I just kind of laugh at myself when you swing at pitches that are above your head," Hamilton said. "You see it coming out of the guy's hand and you're like, 'Ball,' but your body goes, 'OK, swing,' and you're like 'What the crap, man?"
Kinsler sees All-Star break as a win-win
ARLINGTON -- Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler gave up his lead to Robinson Cano in the latest All-Star Game voting update but could still earn a trip to Kansas City as a reserve. No matter what happens, Kinsler won't mind."I'd obviously love to be in the All-Star Game because we're going to have great representation," Kinsler said. "But there's another side to that. I would love to be on a lake with a fishing pole in my hand. I'm not going to be angry or upset." For the third time this year and for a team-record 24th time in his career, Kinsler led off a game with a home run in Tuesday's win over the Tigers. He is batting .270 with eight home runs, 27 doubles, 36 RBIs, and a Major League-best 54 runs this season. Kinsler's 315 at-bats and 31 multihit games lead the AL. "It doesn't really wear your body down to go to the All-Star Game," Kinsler said. "It's more draining than physically taxing. You take one batting practice and play, at the most, two or three innings. It's not a big deal, but it's definitely nice to have the four days to do what you want." Kinsler was named an All-Star in 2008 and '10. He held a slim lead over Cano when the voting results were updated June 18, but when they were calculated again on Monday, Cano had passed Kinsler, leading him by 106,923 votes. Voting for this year's All-Star Game ends Thursday at 10:59 p.m. CT.
Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish have combined for 20 wins. Going into Wednesday's games, that was 43.5 percent of the Rangers' victories, the highest ratio for any two pitchers in the AL. Darvish and Harrison both have 10 wins in the Rangers' first 75 games. The only other time Texas had two pitchers win 10 over the first 75 games was 1999, when Rick Helling and Aaron Sele accomplished the feat. With 106 strikeouts to go with his 10 wins, Yu Darvish is the third rookie since 1900 have accomplished that before July 1, joining Grover Cleveland Alexander for the Phillies in 1911 and Ray Culp for the '63 Phillies. Darvish is the first AL pitcher to win the first seven home starts of his career since Bob Shawkey for the Yankees in the Polo Grounds in 1919. The last NL pitcher was Carlos Perez with eight straight for the Expos in '95.
Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.