Rangers trying to replace Nelson Cruz by strength in numbers

Posted Monday, Aug. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The task of replacing right fielder Nelson Cruz can’t be done by any one player in the Texas Rangers’ organization, but a combination of six outfielders will be used to make ends meet.

The Rangers recalled outfielder Engel Beltre from Triple A Round Rock on Monday and purchased the contract of Round Rock outfielder Joey Butler to give manager Ron Washington a chance to create a platoon at all three outfield spots.

Leonys Martin will remain the everyday center fielder, but he will be moved around to the corners depending on pitching matchups. Washington used Beltre, Martin and David Murphy from left to right in the opener of a three-game series at Angel Stadium.

“We’re going to run a platoon and try to use the whole roster and continue to play Texas Rangers baseball,” Washington said. “Murphy will be right and left. [Martin] will be the everyday guy until I decide to give him a day off.”

The Rangers will face only right-handed starters in their series against the Los Angeles Angels, so the alignment Monday could prevail all three games. Or it might not.

Beltre, a left-handed hitter, and Butler, a right-handed-hitting right-fielder, will be strict platoon players. Craig Gentry will play mostly against left-handed pitchers but will see time against righties. Jeff Baker, when he isn’t playing first base against lefties, could play left field against them.

A trade for an outfielder would change all of that, but general manager Jon Daniels isn’t holding his breath. It becomes more difficult to acquire help after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline because a player must now clear waivers.

If a claim is made, the player can be pulled back. As a result, said Daniels, the pool of available players shrinks in August.

“We go through the waiver bulletin every day and make decisions on who we would claim,” Daniels said. “I’m realistic about it. You don’t see that many impactful trades made this time of year. We’re looking at this as if we’re going forward with our club as is, and we like our team.”

To make room on the roster for Butler, who is looking to make his major league debut, the Rangers designated infielder Adam Rosales for assignment. They had made a waiver claim on him Friday, and he would have remained on the roster had Cruz not started serving his suspension.

Darvish rolling

Right-hander Yu Darvish is 2-1 with a 0.47 ERA in three starts since the All-Star break, and on Thursday tied the single-season major league record by recording his third 14-strikeout, 0-walk game of the season.

But Darvish said that he hasn’t solved the mystery of pitching, and he isn’t about to start thinking as if he has.

“It just happened that I had three good starts,” said Darvish, who leads the Rangers with 10 wins and a 2.66 ERA. “But I really have to be humble. You don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I just want to stay focused and pitch my game every time.”

Darvish is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA against the Angels this season, and those lineups included Albert Pujols. Though Pujols is out for the rest of the season, Darvish still sees an imposing Angels lineup.

“I’m sure that the lineup has changed since I pitched against them last time, but I think it’s a really good team with a lot of power,” he said.

Briefly

• Third baseman Adrian Beltre was named the American League Player of the Month for July after batting .369 with nine homers, 19 RBIs and 13 runs in 26 games. It is the fourth monthly honor of his career.

• Left-hander Matt Harrison has rejoined the team after making a rehab start Sunday at Double A Frisco in which he threw 44 pitches and allowed one run in 32/3 innings. He said he will start again Friday at Round Rock, likely being stretched to 60 pitches.

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

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