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February 19, 2012

Sunday in Surprise: Kinsler talks, Uehara wants resolution

A whopping four of the 58 players who are on the Rangers' spring-training roster have been at the Surprise Recreation Campus today. The first to arrive was Koji Uehara. The last was Ian Kinsler. Both had things to say.

Kinsler said that he has nothing to hide about being spotted with Josh Hamilton on Jan. 30, the night Hamilton had a relapse with alcohol. Kinsler said that the chain of events unfolded as Hamilton reported during a Feb. 3 news conference. Hamilton did not drink in Kinsler's presence and returned to a North Dallas bar after Kinsler had returned Hamilton to their original meeting place.

Kinsler said that he and Hamilton have discussed the night several times, and there are no hard feelings between them. Kinsler is not worried about the rumors that he had been spotted drinking with Hamilton.

"Josh is taking care of it," Kinsler said. "He's open and up-front about it. It's not really my place to talk about it. I know I was there for part of the night. I've kind of gotten over it. I'm focused on the season. I support Josh. I'm completely supportive of him. I think all of his teammates are and all the coaches are. We're going to be here for him and whatever he needs."

"I'm not too concerned about what people say. I was there. I know what happened. People can say what they think was happening or what they want to say about the situation. There were, seriously, eight people in that bar. I don't know how many people were focused on us. We weren't out in the middle of the bar."

Kinsler, who is healthy after an off-season ankle procedure and has upped his weight to 212 pounds, said that there is nothing new on a possible contract extension. He and the Rangers had an in-depth conversation in early January. Kinsler said that a report that he is seeking $90 million and the Rangers have offered $76.5 million is not accurate.

"I've been pretty open about it," he said. "I want to stay here, but a lot of it is up to them. We'll see how things progress and if things get fire up again this spring."

Uehara said that has heard all about the Rangers' attempts to trade him, with the latest reports suggesting that Oakland wants him. He confirmed that he turned down a trade to Toronto earlier in the off-season, citing weather concerns and AL East concerns as his primary reasons. The Blue Jays are one of six teams that is part of a limited no-trade clause.

The right-hander is hoping for a decision to come down soon. He would like to stay with the Rangers, and admitted that the uncertainty is on his mind.

"Mentally, I'm not settled down yet. It would be great if I could get that over with," he said. "I love this team, and they have great personnel. That always is a motivating factor. "

-- Jeff Wilson

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