ARLINGTON - Prince Fielder went into Tuesday's game without a home run in 13 games. It was his longest drought to start the season since beginning 2010 without one in 14 games.
"That means one should be coming soon," Fielder said before the game.
He was exactly right.
Fielder finally hit his first home run for the Rangers leading off the top of the second inning against Mariners pitcher Blake Beavan on Tuesday night, Kevin Kouzmanoff followed with his first home run, giving the Rangers back-to-back blasts for the first time this season. The Rangers had just five home runs in their first 13 games, matching the 1972 team for the fewest in that stretch to start the season.
Manager Ron Washington compared Fielder's start to what Frank Thomas went through with the Athletics in 2006. Thomas was hitting .190 with five home runs and 11 RBI through April and ended up hitting .270 with 39 home runs and 114 RBI while leading the Athletics to a division title.
"Frank needed 100 at-bats to feel comfortable…Prince fits in that same mold," Washington said. "In this game two things happen, you get off to a good start or you get off to a bad start. He got off to a bad start. He's got some work to do but he's got five months to get it right."
Fielder went into Monday hitting .176 with nine hits in 51 at-bats. He has hit some balls hard but is being stopped by the defensive shift that puts three infielders on the right side of the infield.
"If I could put a GPS on my bat, I would," Fielder said. "You can't go up there trying to manipulate the ball or it will take you out of yourself. I can't afford to let this get in my head. If I didn't, I wouldn't be any good to my team. I just go out and try to be myself."
Wash re-airs concerns about transfer rule
ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington is in favor of replay reviews but is still not happy with the way the transfer rule is being called and the Rangers have again voiced their concerns with the Commissioner's Office.
"They understand. … We'll see how they fix it," Washington said. "If they don't fix it, it will be a travesty. There will be people all around the game dropping balls. It happens."
It happened to the Rangers in the sixth inning on Monday night. With the bases loaded, one out and a grounder back to the mound, catcher J.P. Arencibia took a throw from pitcher Pedro Figueroa on a force play at home and then bobbled the ball on the transfer from the glove to his throwing hand. The runner was originally out and then reversed after a challenge by Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon.
The umpires, through review, are making players take the ball out of the glove and complete a successful transfer to the throwing hand. Otherwise the forced runner or a batter on a fly ball will be called safe.
In the past, runners were usually out on force plays or catches in the outfield if the umpire determined the fielder had caught the ball and had dropped it transferring it to the throwing hand.
"Overall [replay] is good," Washington said. "They are getting plays right, there are just issues that need to be fixed. Infielders drop balls all the time. Now guys who are out are getting bases."
Washington was ejected from Monday's game for arguing after the play had been reviewed. Washington knew he would get ejected but seems intent on bringing attention to the rule even if he'll likely have to pay a $500 fine for being tossed.
"My actions may not make anything happen," Washington said. "I may have to do it again in two months. But I felt I had to do it."
Harrison not happy with latest rehab outing
ARLINGTON -- Left-handed pitcher Matt Harrison rejoined the Rangers on Tuesday, one day after his second rehab start for Double-A Frisco. Pitching in Little Rock against Arkansas, Harrison allowed three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out two in 3 1/3 innings. He threw 77 pitches in a game played in 40-plus degree weather. He was supposed to pitch on Sunday, but the game was rained out.
"It just wasn't a good night," Harrison said. "Forty-five degree weather, the wind was blowing. … I let a lot of things get in my head. Going up there, getting rained out, sitting around, freezing weather -- I just wasn't motivated.
"It wasn't what I wanted it to be. I felt good warming up, but once I sat down, my body started stiffening up and it got worse. I threw like 50 pitches in the first inning and I must have had 20 foul balls. I didn't have the feel of my breaking ball."
Harrison, who started the season on the disabled list while recovering from last year's back problems, is scheduled to pitch again on Saturday for Triple-A Round Rock or Double-A Frisco. The goal is to throw 95 pitches, and then the Rangers will decide whether he's ready to be activated.
"A lot depends on how the next one goes," Harrison said. "Hopefully I'll go more than three and get my pitch-count up. At least go six."
• Joe Saunders, who is on the disabled list with a bruised left ankle, came through Monday's bullpen session without issues. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sunday, but the Rangers still want to test his mobility with some fielding drills. That could come after another bullpen session on Wednesday. He last pitched on April 4 against the Rays and had to leave the game after getting hit by a line drive.
• With reliever Hector Noesi making his debut on Monday, the Rangers have used 30 players so far this season, the most in the American League.
• Rangers catchers went into Tuesday's games hitting .114. That's tied for the second lowest at any position for an AL team. The Twins' shortstops are hitting .105, and the Astros' designated hitters are batting .114.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.