KANSAS CITY -- Nelson Cruz took a seven-game hitting streak into Tuesday's game with the Royals. Cruz was 11-for-24 (.458) in the streak to raise his batting average from .297 to .337.That would rank seventh in the AL in hitting but, because he missed two weeks with a strained hamstring, he is about 20 plate appearances shy of being listed among the qualifiers. He is still tied for 12th with nine home runs and tied for seventh with 33 RBIs. Fans are noticing his play because Cruz was third among American League outfielders in the first All-Star voting update released on Monday. Cruz trails only Ichiro Suzuki and Carl Crawford, putting him to be in position -- if this keeps up -- in the starting outfield for the All-Star Game in July. "That would be awesome," Cruz said. "Fans are recognizing the job I am doing, that's something you appreciate." Cruz was also named the American League Player of the Week on Monday. In addition to hitting in seven straight games, Cruz had five doubles, two home runs and 12 RBIs.
"Last week at home was the best I've felt at the plate all year," Cruz said.
Saltalamacchia showing progress at OKC
KANSAS CITY -- Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was the Rangers' Opening Day catcher but is now at Triple-A Oklahoma City, could be working his way back to being an option at the Major League level.General manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers have been getting good reports on Saltalamacchia's throwing for the past week or so. The daily reports keep saying Saltalamacchia has had "no problems" with his throwing. That doesn't mean Saltalamacchia will be back in the Majors anytime soon, but he could get consideration if there is a need. His throwing has been erratic since undergoing shoulder surgery last September. "I don't know what the right amount of time is," Daniels said. "We told Salty we want to see improvement over an extended period of time. To his credit, this last week he's had no issues. We don't have a target date at this point, but he seems to be making significant progress. He's got to keep it up." The Rangers have been going with Matt Treanor as their No. 1 catcher with Max Ramirez in reserve. The Rangers continue to consider other options but nothing is imminent. "We've been pleased with both Matt and Max," Daniels said. "Those guys have kind of stepped up in an area we really needed. Just like anything else, we'll keep evaluating any chance to improve the club, but right now we have confidence with those guys back there."
Rangers unlikely to deal for Oswalt
KANSAS CITY -- No, the Rangers are not going to get involved in any trade talks concerning Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt.Club officials have made that clear, especially after Monday's press conference. Oswalt suggested last week the Astros would be better off trading him and there has been much speculation where he might end up. But the Rangers remain extremely limited in their financial flexibility. They are not going to be able to take on much in the way of salary until the sale of the club to Chuck Greenberg's group is completed. That might take place before the July 31 trade deadline but until that happens, there is no way the Rangers will be able to take on Oswalt's $15 million salary. It's also unlikely that the Rangers could take on a fraction of that even if the Astros pick up some salary as part of a trade. General manager Jon Daniels, while refusing to discuss any specific trades, did say, "We've got a 2010 budget, the same one we've been working off of since the end of last season relating to our offseason acquisitions and plans for this year. Nothing has changed." Daniels also added that at this point, acquiring a starting pitcher is not a high priority. The Rangers would still like to see improvement from Rich Harden and Scott Feldman, but right now seem relatively satisfied with their current rotation. The Rangers also have Derek Holland, C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis as starters, with Matt Harrison and Tommy Hunter in the Minors ready if needed. Harrison is on the disabled list because of biceps inflammation in his left arm and threw a scoreless inning on Monday for Double-A Frisco in his first medical rehabilitation assignment appearance. He is scheduled to pitch again on Wednesday and then could be activated as a reliever later on this road trip. Hunter, who started the season on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle in his left rib cage, is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA in four starts at Oklahoma City. He is pitching against Tacoma on Tuesday night. Rangers starters have struggled of late but are still 14-10 with a 4.24 ERA on the season, fifth best in the American League. Asked if the Rangers are looking for starting pitching, Daniels said, "Not right now. That could always change; you've got to be open-minded about adding an impact pitcher. But we have a lot of faith in the guys we have out there, not to mention Hunter and Harrison. I wouldn't rule it out, but it's not an immediate need."
Michael Young goes into Tuesday's game with the Royals having reached base in 20 straight games. Ian Kinsler has reached base in 15 straight. ... Triple-A Oklahoma City reliever Pedro Strop had a stretch of 24 consecutive retired batters snapped in his last outing on Sunday when Lance Zawadski drew a 2-out walk in the ninth inning. ... Going back to May 8, the only three batters to reach against Strop did so on walks. The last hit he allowed came on May 4 at Omaha on a two-out single by Marc Maddox. Strop has pitched nine consecutive hitless and scoreless innings spanning his last five appearances.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.