Rangers place Arias (lower back) on DL

SEATTLE -- The Rangers, who have second baseman Ian Kinsler back for the series in Seattle, have placed infielder Joaquin Arias on the disabled list with a lower back strain.

Arias, 25, has hit .321 (17-for-53) with three RBIs in 17 games this season for the Rangers. He complained of back issues last week and missed a few games. He would be eligible to return on May 15.

The Rangers faced a tough choice on how to create space for Kinsler if everyone was healthy. Arias has hit the ball well, but isn’t considered as good a defender as Andres Blanco. Plus, Blanco can play shortstop, which he did on Thursday as Elvis Andrus took the day off and rested a sore calf muscle. But both Arias and Blanco were out of options and were likely to get claimed off waivers. Ryan Garko was another possibility, but the veteran gives the Rangers a right-handed hitting first baseman to give Justin Smoak a break when needed and as a pinch hitter late in games.

By putting Arias on the disabled list, the Rangers don’t risk losing him at this point.