Cruz showing significant improvement
Strained hamstring causing less discomfort during sprints
OAKLAND -- Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz is reporting significant improvement in his strained right hamstring and is hoping to go on a medical rehabilitation assignment later this week or over the weekend.Cruz has been taking batting practice and working on his defense. On Monday, he tested the muscle with a series of sprints before the Rangers' game with the Oakland Athletics. "I feel like I'm running about 70 percent," Cruz said. "I still feel it a little bit, but the more I do and the more I get warmed up, the less I feel it. My last couple of sprints, I didn't feel it at all." Cruz was placed on the disabled list on April 27, which means he's eligible to come off on May 12. He was hitting .329 with seven home runs and 17 RBI when he was put on the DL, and he still leads the Rangers in both home runs and RBIs.
Wilson not satisfied with solid outing
OAKLAND -- C.J. Wilson's line on Sunday was pretty good. He pitched seven-plus innings and allowed one run on five hits, with three walks and four strikeouts. The Rangers ended up winning in 11 innings, but Wilson wasn't satisfied with the results."I was a little disappointed how I pitched," Wilson said. "I didn't execute my pitches as well as I wanted to. I'm trying to get my command where it needs to be. There's still a lot of improvement that can be made." Going into Monday's games, Wilson ranked fourth in the American League with a 1.65 ERA. "How many walks do I have?" Wilson inquired. The left-hander has 13 in 32 2/3 innings after issuing three free passes in seven innings on Sunday. "That's too many," Wilson said. "I didn't get guys out fast enough and gave them extra pitches to look at by falling behind in the count. "Nothing against anybody, but there is still stuff for me to improve upon. I'm glad we won the game, but there are still things to work on. If I were to feel awesome about everything, that wouldn't show much maturity. It's taken me a long time to get here, I want to continue to improve."
Young gets in some extra throwing work
OAKLAND -- After three throwing errors in the past two games in Seattle, Rangers third baseman Michael Young was out working early with infield coach Dave Anderson and manager Ron Washington before Monday's game in Oakland."I got here early and wanted to go out and do some work," Young said. "It's always nice to go out and break a sweat. It was a gorgeous day." Young said he was not overly concerned about his throwing. "No, not at all," Young said. "I've been playing infield a long time and every once in a while you get out of rhythm. When that happens, you go back to basics and get back in the feel." Washington applied his universal remedy to the situation -- he is a huge believer in footwork being the key to defense, and that's what he worked on with Young. "He wasn't using his bottom half," Washington said. "The mistakes he made in Seattle were because his feet weren't working."
Washington's chat with Andrus paying off
OAKLAND -- Elvis Andrus made a big error on April 15 in Cleveland.
The Rangers were leading, 2-0, in the eighth inning when Andrus dropped a throw from second baseman Andres Blanco on a force play at second base. The Rangers ended up losing, 3-2, on Shin-Soo Choo's three-run home run, and the next day, manager Ron Washington had a little chat with Andrus about the importance of maintaining focus."His game has gone up since then," Washington said. "He's been outstanding. Since that day, he hasn't made one mistake. He's been our catalyst. He's been focused and given us great at-bats when we've really needed them. He has been playing winning baseball." Washington decided to give Andrus a day off on Monday. Andrus has been dealing with a sore calf, but that's not why Washington had him out of the lineup -- the skipper just wanted to give him a break after 32 grueling innings in Seattle over the weekend.
OAKLAND -- Matt Treanor was the starting catcher on Monday and will likely start on Tuesday against the A's. Manager Ron Washington said Max Ramirez may catch on Wednesday in the day game. ... Second baseman Ian Kinsler might get Wednesday off as well, Washington said. ... The Rangers brought out first baseman Justin Smoak early to work on picking errant throws out of the dirt. "We want him to be more aggressive and understand no ball that hits the dirt is going to be an easy one," Washington said. ...Washington said Colby Lewis was going to be his first pinch-hitter if needed on Sunday in Seattle. By pinch-running for Justin Smoak in the eighth inning and inserting designated hitter Ryan Garko at first base, Washington took his DH out of the game. He was also out of bench players after Andres Blanco hit for Darren Oliver. Lewis hit three home runs in Japan last year. ... There are 23 qualifying relievers in the American League with an ERA under 2.10. The Rangers have three of them: Darren O'Day (0.00), Chris Ray (1.69) and Oliver (2.08). ... Oliver is one of nine qualifying relievers who has not allowed an inherited runner to score. Of those nine pitchers, Oliver has the most innings (13) and the most inherited runners (11).
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.