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September 14, 2011

Wednesday's pregame Rangers/Nelson Cruz notes

Not the newsiest day today, but there's always something.

Nelson Cruz said that he'd be in the lineup today if he was the one making the decision. But he's not making the decision on when he will return, so he's not in the lineup. He's available to pinch-hit, though, and could serve as the Rangers' DH as soon as this weekend at Seattle.

Cruz spent the afternoon facing Martin Perez and Neil Ramirez as they threw live batting practice. Without a place for Cruz to go on a rehab assignment, that was the next best option for him to see pitches and get his timing back. He complimented the two pitching prospects by saying their fastballs have a lot of life.

When Cruz does return to full-time duty in right field, the Rangers could be looking at a David Murphy-Josh Hamilton-Nelson Cruz outfield. Manager Ron Washington first hinted last week that was a possibility. Now, it seems like an inevitability with Murphy continuing to hit at a torrid pace (.424 average since Aug. 26, the highest in the majors for players with at least 40 at-bats).

Alexi Ogando will be the Rangers' starting pitcher Thursday night to concluded the three-game series against the Indians. The ensuing start, though, hasn't been scheduled. He could pitch Tuesday at Oakland after an off day or get pushed the series finale Thursday or even to the Seattle series next weekend.

When Matt Harrison got the victory Tuesday night, he gave the Rangers five pitchers with 12 wins. They are the eighth team since 1981 to accomplish that feat. Tampa Bay did it last year.

The Rangers might say that they aren't scoreboard-watching, but the Angels-A's day game at O.co Coliseum was playing on the videoboard throughout batting practice.

-- Jeff Wilson





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