ARLINGTON -- Brandon McCarthy is returning to the Rangers rotation on Tuesday to pitch the second game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.

That's the new plan after McCarthy threw 45 pitches in the bullpen on Friday. He has been on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade and was planning on pitching in a simulated game on Tuesday.

But the Rangers have decided instead to pitch him against the Tigers.

"He's been throwing in the bullpen and feels good, no pain," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

McCarthy would likely be limited to three innings and 45-50 pitches in what would be his first start since Aug. 10 against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

"If I thought I was pushing it, I wouldn't do it," McCarthy said. "I just think it's best to get back out there in a Major League game rather than a simulated game. Right now it feels strong and it's not hurting. It's time to get going again."

McCarthy, who is 5-8 with a 4.79 ERA, has thrown 94 innings over 20 games, including 19 starts. He is hoping to get up to 115 innings and could make 3-4 starts before the season is over. He could also get extra work in the instructional league if needed.

McCarthy also had some elbow trouble last week but a cortisone shot cleared up that problem. He has had an MRI on both the shoulder and the elbow, and everything looked clean.

Cruz sits again: Nelson Cruz was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game on Friday as Washington used Brad Wilkerson in right field against Oakland starter Dan Haren. Jason Botts was also out of the lineup with Hank Blalock at designated hitter and Frank Catalanotto in left field.

"Dan Haren is pitching," Washington said. "I just wanted to get some veterans out there."

Washington said Cruz will still play in a majority of the games down the stretch. But the Rangers are also disappointed with what they've seen from Cruz since he returned from Triple-A.

"I was expecting Cruz to come here and have gotten tough mentally," Washington said. "But when things got a little tough, I don't think he fought hard enough, and [he] reverted back to what he was before. He's got too much to offer to revert back.

"We certainly haven't given up on him. He's got too much in there; we've got to find a way to get it out."

Cruz is hitting .243 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 33 games since being recalled from Triple-A. He was hitting .352 with 15 home runs and 45 RBIs in 44 games at Oklahoma. He has spent the last few days working extra with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo on his stance and footwork.

"I've been working on what I need to do to get better," Cruz said.

Blalock proud papa: Blalock's wife Misty gave birth to the couple's second son on Thursday. Lucas Joe Blalock weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces and joins Trey Ryan, 3, in the Blalock lineup.

Too bad the Rangers were off on Thursday night. Blalock hit two home runs the night Trey was born in 2004.

"I wanted to hit three because I knew we were naming him Trey," Blalock said. "But I hit a fly ball to the warning track."

Byrd shoots for .300: Marlon Byrd was back in the lineup after being given two games off by Washington. Byrd went into Friday's game hitless in his last 10 at-bats and was hitting .241 in his last 50 games. That has brought his average down from .388 to .300.

"It was and is a goal of mine to hit .300 every year," Byrd said. "It would be a great thing because I have worked hard all year. But all I can do is have good at-bats every time up."

Davis at 3B: The Rangers have committed to Chris Davis at third base after drafting him as a first baseman. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the team wants to develop Davis at the more challenging position. However, moving Davis back to first base once he is Major League-ready is still an option.

"I want to be [at third]," Davis said. "I feel confident I can get the job done there. [The Rangers] are pretty much set with me at third. That's a positive thing to me -- showing me they were willing to stay with me as I struggle through it. They expect me to come out on the upside."

He said it: "My arm feels good. My body is a little sore but whose isn't this time of year." -- Kason Gabbard, who is starting on Saturday against the Athletics.

Briefly: Kameron Loe had a cortisone shot to relieve the inflammation in his right elbow. The Rangers are still expecting him to pitch a week from Saturday against the Oakland Athletics. ... Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani is scheduled to be a guest of the Rangers on Saturday and throw out the first pitch. ... The Rangers went into Friday's game with a 24-16 record in one-run games, a .600 winning percentage that was best in the Majors.

Up next: Left-hander Gabbard pitches for the Rangers at 7:05 p.m. CT on Friday against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Right-hander Chad Gaudin pitches for the Athletics.