ARLINGTON -- With three off-days in the next eight days, the Rangers sent up their everyday lineup in Sunday's finale against the Cubs.Manager Ron Washington tried to get some players some days off, but came up empty-handed. "I went around yesterday trying to give some guys a day off, but they said they've got tomorrow off," Washington said. "They're trying to finish off this homestand." Among those players is outfielder Josh Hamilton, who started the finale despite hitting .233 lifetime in day games with 99 strikeouts and 38 walks. But Washington never had any intention of giving him a day off. "It was a suggestion to me. It wasn't a thought in my mind," Washington said. "He's in there today. I know what the numbers say, but today might be the day Hamilton breaks out of that." Hamilton will get plenty of opportunities to break out of his day struggles this week. Beginning Sunday, the Rangers play three of their next five games during the day.
Harrison headed to Texas 'pen upon return
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said following Sunday's loss to the Cubs that left-hander Matt Harrison will move to the bullpen when he returns from his stay on the disabled list.Harrison met with Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux prior to the game, as the decision was reached that Harrison would not return to his starting role. The bullpen, which has been one of the most worked relief corps in the American League this season, has only one southpaw in Darren Oliver. Harrison began the season as a starter before being placed on the DL on May 12 with biceps tendinitis. He was 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA in six starts. However, his replacement, Derek Holland, has found success. In three starts this season, Holland has compiled a 2-0 record with a 2.60 ERA. Harrison will pitch Monday on a rehab assignment for Double-A Frisco, and again on Wednesday. After that, he'll be reevaluated, and a decision might be made on when he will return to the Rangers. The left-hander threw 60 pitches in a bullpen session on Saturday and said he felt fine on Sunday. He also threw 30 pitches in a simulated game on Thursday.
Rangers to flip-flop starting pitchers
ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitchers C.J. Wilson and Derek Holland will switch starting days next week against the Twins.Rangers manager Ron Washington said earlier this week that he didn't have any intention of changing the rotation, but the team decided to make the move Sunday. Wilson will pitch on Friday instead of Saturday, keeping him on regular rest, while Holland will pitch Saturday, giving him an extra sixth day of rest. Holland pitched Saturday night against the Cubs, going six innings and giving up three runs on four hits with five strikeouts. Wilson pitched the finale on Sunday.
Smoak hopes to stop pressing at plate
ARLINGTON -- Rangers first baseman Justin Smoak isn't trying to concern himself with his steadily dropping batting average.Smoak is hitting just .172 in 29 games since being called up, with an on-base percentage of just .297. Most of Smoak's struggles have come against left-handers, as the rookie is hitting .067 with eight strikeouts vs. southpaws. "He's hitting into some bad luck sometimes, his youth shows up sometimes," Washington said. "I don't think nobody wants to see a batting average of .180 or something. But I think we've got enough guys in that lineup to pick it up until he catches up. "He's a threat every time he's up there." Smoak feels like he's pressing at the plate and is trying to get back to what he does best: working the count and getting on base. "I've been swinging at a lot of pitches out of the zone lately, trying to do too much," Smoak said. "I've just got to slow it down a little bit." But Smoak still understands that struggles and slumps are part of the game. "I've hit a dry spell where I haven't felt great, but it's part of the game," Smoak said. "You've got to do something every day to try and feel the way you want to feel. "Everybody goes through struggles, but it's more magnified up here. It's just part of the game. Hopefully sooner than later things will start falling."
Nelson Cruz has an RBI in each of the Rangers' six games this homestand. It's the longest streak in the American League this season and tied for second longest in the Majors. ... With his fourth-inning home run Saturday night, Vladimir Guerrero has hit at least 10 home runs in a season in 14 consecutive seasons. ... Saturday night's extra-inning game was the Rangers' seventh this season, tied with the Red Sox for the most in the Majors. ... Texas is 18-8 at Rangers Ballpark this season, the best home record in the Majors.
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.