SEATTLE -- Outfielder Nelson Cruz hopes to start taking batting practice on Saturday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained right hamstring."It's feeling a little better," said Cruz, whose .758 slugging percentage will end up being tied for the second highest for the month of April in club history. Right now, Cruz has been playing some catch and doing some leg work on both a stationary bicycle and the treadmill. Infielder Joaquin Arias, who joined Cruz on the disabled list Friday with a strained lower back, will be doing nothing for a few days. Arias said the back started bothering him earlier this week and became progressively worse in Thursday's game against the White Sox. "It's a little sore down there," Arias said. "I definitely feel some pain."
Washington trying to get bullpen back in order
SEATTLE -- Rangers manager Ron Washington knows exactly how he wants his bullpen to line up. He's just trying to get it back in order after its falling out of line lately."It's gotten out of whack a little bit," Washington said. "We're trying to find a consensus where everybody knows when they're going to be used. The starters weren't going deep in games and we had to use guys when we needed them. It will fall into place." The bullpen, when set up properly, should look like this: Neftali Feliz is the closer and Frank Francisco is the right-handed eighth-inning setup guy. Left-hander Darren Oliver can be used in the seventh and eighth innings. Right-handers Chris Ray and Darren O'Day are primarily for the sixth and seventh innings. Doug Mathis and Dustin Nippert are the middle/long relievers. Nippert is sometimes used as a setup guy depending on need. "Early in the season, we got a little overworked," Washington said. "But it's starting to come together where we can get them in roles where they know when they're coming in."
Oliver had a better idea."Just take the ball when the phone rings and do the best you can," he said.
Washington is still adamant that Feliz is his closer even though he has given up six runs on 10 hits over his last four games and four innings."We believe he can get outs," Washington said. "The kid has had a rough time, but we're trying to build confidence. We're not going to take him out of there. The way to build confidence is to keep giving kids opportunities."
Kinsler back in the lineup, hitting fifth
SEATTLE -- Ian Kinsler, after being out of the lineup since March 12, was back in there Friday night following his activation off the disabled list. Kinsler, who has been sidelined with a sprained right ankle, was hitting fifth, but said he is ready to steal bases again if needed."I hope so," Kinsler said. "Time will tell, but I think I can steal bases." It's a big part of his game. Kinsler hit 31 home runs and stole 31 bases in 2009, becoming only the second Ranger to go 30/30 in a season. He is back in the lineup even though he admitted the ankle is not 100 percent. But it's close enough to play. "I'm able to do 100 percent of the things I want to do on the field," Kinsler said. "I wouldn't say my right ankle feels the same as my left. To me, 100 percent is when the right ankle feels like my left ankle. I don't know when that will be." Kinsler was in the fifth spot in the order. That was manager Ron Washington's plan from the beginning of Spring Training after Kinsler spent most of last season as the Rangers' leadoff hitter. The Rangers hope to take advantage of the power in his bat while still letting him run on the bases. Moving to the middle of the order also may reduce the excessive focus on his on-base percentage. Kinsler had a .375 on-base percentage in 2008, but it slipped to .327 last year and there was much angst over that. "The goal is to get on base," Kinsler said. "You can't score if you don't get on base. Everybody talks about last year being a down year as far as my on-base percentage, but I still feel I'm capable of getting on base at a high rate no matter what position I'm hitting in."
Vlad gets second start in right field
SEATTLE -- Vladimir Guerrero was in right field on Friday night for the second time this week. That allowed manager Ron Washington to use Ryan Garko at designated hitter. With Craig Gentry in center field, Washington was trying to get as many right-handed hitters in the lineup against Mariners left-hander Cliff Lee.Washington doesn't want to get carried away with Guerrero playing the outfield, but it's still a nice option for him against left-handed pitchers with Nelson Cruz on the disabled list. "He means so much to us on the offensive end, I'm just trying to protect him," Washington said. "I'm going to get him some games in the outfield, but I'm not getting carried away."
The Rangers have promoted pitcher Tanner Scheppers from Double-A Frisco to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Scheppers pitched 11 innings at Frisco and allowed just one run on three hits. He walked none and struck out 19. ... The Rangers face right-hander Felix Hernandez on Saturday and Julio Borbon will be back in the lineup. He was off on Friday with left-hander Cliff Lee on the mound for the Mariners. ... Manager Ron Washington said Matt Treanor will catch on Saturday. Treanor was also in the lineup on Friday night. ... The Rangers expect bench coach Jackie Moore to rejoin the club on Monday. He has been away because of a death in the family. Minor League baserunning/outfield coordinator Wayne Kirby is with the team in Seattle.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.