Nelson Cruz entrenched as Rangers’ No. 3 hitter

Posted Saturday, Jun. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Nelson Cruz isn’t going to be removed from the No. 3 spot in the Texas Rangers’ batting order through at least the end of this road trip, and has a chance to stay there even after Lance Berkman is healthy.

Manager Ron Washington wouldn’t commit to Cruz over the long term, and he likes Berkman’s ability to draw a walk and hit from both sides of the plate. But he also likes the protection Cruz is getting from third baseman Adrian Beltre, and he likes the production Cruz has provided.

Cruz, the right fielder, started his fourth game in the No. 3 hole Saturday night after hitting .357 (5 for 14) in his first three games there. He went 2 for 4 with the decisive two-run homer in the Rangers’ 4-2 victory.

He has driven in seven runs hitting third, including three Friday in the Rangers’ 6-4 victory.

“The more often you do something, the more chances you have to get comfortable,” said Cruz, who is hitting ..333 (17 for 51) in his last 14 games. “I’ve been going good for about a month. I feel like I can get hits in every at-bat.”

Berkman is being rested this weekend, though he’s available to pinch hit, after receiving a cortisone injection Thursday in his achy right knee. He is hitting only .184 (16 for 87) over his last 23 games.

But Washington is anticipating a turnaround, which could bump Cruz down in the order.

“We’ll see when we get everybody back,” Washington said. “He’s there now. As far as long-term, it may end up there long-term. But I’m going to decide that when I’m ready to decide it.”

What a steal

Ian Kinsler’s next stolen base will move him past Bump Wills as the Rangers’ all-time leader in stolen bases, a mark that the second baseman says won’t be his for long.

“Elvis is going to fly by me while I’m playing with him,” Kinsler said.

Indeed, shortstop Elvis Andrus trails the Kinsler/Wills mark of 161 by only 22 swipes, and Kinsler isn’t exactly taking bases with regularity this season. The record-tying steal Thursday was only his fourth of the season.

The reduction in Kinsler’s running is a by-product of a different tack being taken by opposing teams and also by the Rangers having a different team. The lineup doesn’t have the same pop, so runs have more value.

“We don’t have a No. 8 hitter with 30 homers,” Kinsler said. “We have to be more cautious and make sure we’re not giving [away] any outs.”

Baker stalled

Utility man Jeff Baker said that he remains unable to do baseball activities because of the right thumb that was strained June 13 by a high-five from an “over-excited” teammate.

“It’s awesome, huh?” Baker said. “I love this.”

But Baker, who went on the disabled list Monday, said that he has noticed improvement.

Briefly

•  No Rangers player leads his position in All-Star balloting. Lance Berkman is a distant second at designated hitter, and A.J. Pierzynski, Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler are third at catcher, third base, shortstop and second base. Nelson Cruz is sixth among outfielders. Fans can vote online at www.mlb.com.

•  Right-hander Alexi Ogando, on the disabled list for the second time this season, said that he will throw a bullpen session Sunday after the discomfort in his shoulder dissipated. He long-tossed Saturday.

•  Former All-Star closer Joakim Soria, out all season after Tommy John surgery last year and a strained pectoral muscle in April, is scheduled to make his second rehab appearance Sunday with Double A Frisco.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Sunday, April 20Full Scoreboard
Toronto4Final | Box
Cleveland «6
LA Angels1Final | Box
Detroit «2
Seattle2Final | Box
Miami «3
Atlanta3Final(14) | Box
NY Mets «4
Milwaukee «3Final(14) | Box
Pittsburgh2
St. Louis2Final | Box
Washington «3
NY Yankees «5Final(12) | Box
Tampa Bay1
Minnesota «8Final | Box
Kansas City3
Cincinnati «8Final | Box
Chicago Cubs2
Chicago WSox «16Final | Box
Texas2
Houston1Final | Box
Oakland «4
Philadelphia8Bottom 7th | Box
Colorado6@theBallpark | TV: CSN-PHI, ROOT-RM
Arizona1Final | Box
Los Angeles «4
San Francisco «4Final | Box
San Diego3
Baltimore3Top 1st | Box
Boston0@theBallpark | TV: ESPN, MASN
Full Scoreboard
Sunday, April 20Full Scoreboard
Dallas85Final | Box
San Antonio «90
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. San Antonio leads series, 1-0.
Charlotte88Final | Box
Miami «99
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Miami leads series, 1-0.
Washington81st Qtr 6:46 | Box
Chicago8TV: TNT, CSN-WAS, CHI
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Portland 4/20 9:30 PM ET
Houston TV: TNT, CSN-HOU
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Full Scoreboard
Full Scoreboard
No games this week
Full Scoreboard
Sunday, April 20Full Scoreboard
Philadelphia «4Final | Box
NY Rangers2
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Series tied, 1-1.
Detroit1Final | Box
Boston «4
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Series tied, 1-1.
Tampa Bay01st Prd 19:23 | Box
Montreal1TV: NBCSN, CBC, RDS, Sun
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Montreal leads series, 2-0.
Los Angeles 4/20 10:00 PM ET
San Jose TV: NBCSN, CBC, FSN-W
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. San Jose leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard