Rangers can't find time for Blanco, Arias
Washington unable to play pair of utility infielders
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rangers don't want to lose Andres Blanco or Joaquin Arias, but manager Ron Washington hasn't been able to find them playing time lately.In the meantime, while sitting with two utility infielders on the bench, the Rangers are short one outfielder while Nelson Cruz is limited because of a torn left hamstring muscle. Cruz was out of the lineup for the second straight day while still available for pinch-hitting duties. Cruz, who pinch-hit in Friday's game, said he is "better" and is experiencing only minimal soreness. He won't be in the lineup on Sunday but the Rangers are hoping that he can be used as a designated hitter during the three-game series with the White Sox that starts on Tuesday in Chicago. Cruz pinch-hit for Julio Borbon in the seventh inning on Friday and grounded out. If he had reached base, pitcher Rich Harden would have pinch-ran for him. When the inning was over, Washington had to put designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero in right field and lose his designated hitter. He was left with two utility infielders on the bench. The Rangers don't want to call an extra outfielder from Triple-A because they would have to expose either Blanco or Arias to outright waivers before they can be sent to the Minor Leagues. "If we let either one of them go right now, we'd lose them," Washington said. "I need Blanco and I need Arias." Blanco, going into Saturday, has not played in 10 straight games while Arias has appeared in just three of 11 games since coming off the disabled list. Washington said there are no plans to get Blanco in the lineup anytime soon. The Rangers are in a stretch where they have three days off in an eight-day period and Washington doesn't see any of his infielders needing a day off. "I'm not going to give [Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus] a day off so Andres can play," Washington said. "We're trying to win ballgames. We've got to go with the best we've got."
Harrison activated; Moscoso sent down
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rangers made it official on Saturday. Matt Harrison was activated off the disabled list and Guillermo Moscoso was sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City.Harrison has been sidelined since May 7 with biceps tendinitis. He is 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA in six starts this season and has never pitched out of the bullpen in his Major League career. But he is now a left-handed middle reliever for the Rangers. The Rangers want a second left-handed reliever out of the bullpen to go along with Darren Oliver. There is no word yet if this is just temporary duty or a permanent change of station. "If it, it is," Harrison said. "I'm not worried about that. I'm focused on helping this team out of the bullpen and getting guys out. I love starting but right now they want me in the bullpen. I'm keeping my focus on that." Harrison said he has discussed with Dustin Nippert and others about adjusting to his role as a reliever. "Nippert was telling me just to find my routine and find out how long it takes to get loose," Harrison said. "It's a matter of getting a feel for what I need to work on but staying loose is the key. He told me to start stretching in the fourth or fifth inning and be ready when they call."
Washington dislikes pinch-hitting for Borbon
Rangers manager Ron Washington has pinch-hit for center fielder Julio Borbon five times in his past six games. It's not something Washington likes doing."It bothers me," Washington said. "I want this guy to feel what it's like to be in those situation. But he's got to give me something earlier in the game to feel like he can get done what needs to be done. Borbon went into Saturday's game hitless in his past eight at-bats although he was hitting .304 in his past 17 games. The biggest concern is he's 4-for-28 against left-handed pitchers and that's why Washington is pinch-hitting for him. Nelson Cruz pinch-hit for him with the bases loaded and two outs. "I can't leave him up there against left-handers," Washington said. "We're playing all these close games ... if I've got a two-run lead, I'll let him hang in there. But if one swing of the bat gives us the lead or gets us back in the game, I have to go for it."
Lewis trying to keep walk totals down
MINNEAPOLIS -- Colby Lewis walked four batters on Friday night, giving him 28 walks for the season. He was tied for the seventh most in the American League going into Saturday.Lewis, who is 4-3 with a 3.41 ERA, was not expecting to be among the league leaders in walks. He walked just 46 batters in 354 1/3 innings during his two years in Japan. "I don't know ... I think I'm doing a good job of pounding the strike zone," Lewis said. "But guys are doing a good job of laying off pitches I should get swings and misses on. It's not like I'm going out and just walking guys. I'm battling guys but I need to get some swings and misses." Lewis has still held opponents to a .204 batting average. That's the fourth lowest in the American League. His .154 batting average with runners in scoring position is the lowest in the AL.
Michael Young is one of 15 players to have started every game for his team. He has been on the field for 433 1/3 of 435 1/3 innings. He left after seven innings in a 10-1 victory over Oakland on May 12. ... Young will play in his 1,400th game on Saturday, tying him with Juan Gonzalez for the fourth most in Rangers history. ... The Rangers will be on ESPN on Sunday night since the Celtics eliminated the Magic in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. ... Darren Oliver has eight scoreless innings over his past seven appearances and has allowed one run in his past 16 games and 18 1/3 innings. That's dropped his ERA from 3.86 to 1.42, sixth best among AL relievers. ... Ian Kinsler swiped third base on Friday night. He is 25-for-27 in stealing third, a 92.6 percent rate that's the third best of any active player with at least 15 steals of third.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.