Rangers vow caution in walk-off festivities
Morales' freak injury sheds light on risks during celebrations
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rangers enjoy a good walk-off celebration as much as any team in baseball.
They've had their share of them, including an Opening Day festivity when Jarrod Saltalamacchia delivered the game-winning hit in a 5-4 victory over the Blue Jays. But the Rangers admitted they will have to rethink their celebratory ways after what happened to Angels first baseman Kendry Morales on Saturday.
"That's a terrible accident," said Texas third baseman Michael Young. "You never want to see a guy get hurt like that. Every team is thinking that could have been them, because every team has experienced a walk-off or a massive dogpile. I'm sure every team is going to ease back."
Morales suffered a broken left ankle jumping down on home plate after hitting a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning of the Angels' 5-1 victory over the Mariners at Angel Stadium.
"Maybe I'll just walk in next time," said second baseman Ian Kinsler. "I've never seen anything like that. It was just a weird situation. I'm sure guys will be thinking about it now, but it's an exciting time. You don't think about injuring yourself when jumping into a victory pile."
One problem, said Young, is the celebrations have become much more physical lately.
"Old school used to be touch the plate, shake hands with your teammates and go to the clubhouse," Young said. "Now there is jumping, punching and kicking, and it's become an accepted part of the game. If it happens to us, you won't see us jumping around. You'll see one or two guys get excited, but we'll make sure nobody will get hurt."
Manager Ron Washington said he will make that point with his team.
"That's a big piece they lost right there," Washington said. "But the Angels always figure out a way to plug something, so I'm sure they'll find a way again."
Rangers place Cruz on 15-day disabled list
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rangers placed outfielder Nelson Cruz on the disabled list on Sunday and recalled Craig Gentry from Triple-A Oklahoma City.Cruz is sidelined with a torn left hamstring muscle. He tried working out before Sunday's game against the Twins, but it did not go well. Cruz would have been available as a pinch-hitter, but that wasn't good enough for the Rangers' needs. "We need more than somebody who can pinch-hit," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's got to be able to play the outfield. Today, we put him through a lot of things and realized he can't play the outfield." Designated hitter is not an option. That role is reserved for Vladimir Guerrero. Washington has used Guerrero in the outfield but not for an extended period. "I'm not going to run him out there four or five days a week," Washington said. Cruz was hitting .327 with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs in 32 games and 126 at-bats. He has a .405 on-base percentage and a .729 slugging percentage. He injured the leg running out a ground ball in his last at-bat against the Royals on Wednesday and pinch-hit in Friday's game against the Twins. "One day, it feels much better and the next day it feels the same," Cruz said. "Today, it was much better. Yesterday, it was the same as the day before. I'd say I'm about 70 percent." This is the second time Cruz has been on the DL. He was sidelined from April 27 to May 14 with a strained right hamstring. Cruz will be eligible to come off on June 13, when the Rangers are in Milwaukee. "We've got to strengthen him up so that when he comes back, he comes back as Nelson Cruz," Washington said. "We want to let him get good and strong." Gentry played in nine games for the Rangers earlier this season while Cruz was out and was 3-for-14 (.214) with two runs scored and one stolen base. He was hitting .266 with 16 runs scored, two doubles, three triples, two home runs, 15 RBIs and seven stolen bases at Oklahoma City. He had a .378 on-base percentage and a .415 slugging percentage.
Borbon trying to restore skipper's confidence
MINNEAPOLIS -- Julio Borbon had two hits and two RBIs on Saturday. It was a good day for him -- and a much-needed offensive output.
Borbon was in an 0-for-8 skid when he notched a pair of run-scoring singles off of Twins starter Carl Pavano.
"It felt good," Borbon said. "I've been working on things. But you want things to show up on the field rather than just in the batting cage. Other than that, I haven't changed mentally.
"I have the same approach, the same attitude and the same intensity, whether I'm 0-for-2 or taken out of the game. I stay positive and keep plugging until things click."
Borbon is producing. He went into Sunday's game hitting .327 (16-for-49) in his past 18 games and he is hitting .290 in 34 games since dropping to the ninth spot in the order. The one dark mark is a 4-for-28 split against left-handers, and manager Ron Washington has started pinch-hitting for him in the late innings recently.
"If I was doing more, I could keep all my at-bats," Borbon said. "The way things are going, it's something I understand. I need to find a way to keep me in there and not just talk about it."
Blanco getting reps as emergency catcher
MINNEAPOLIS -- Utility infielder Andres Blanco, who has not played in 11 games, is trying to stay busy. He has been coming out early and getting extra work as a catcher.
Blanco has never played the position before, but the Rangers want him to be available as an emergency third catcher.
"I've never caught before," Blanco said. "I have no idea -- it's something that's hard, but they said, 'Let's try it.'"
The idea is to have a third catcher in case the starting catcher is already out of the game and the backup catcher gets hurt.
"Just in case of emergency," said bench coach Jackie Moore. "At least we have a game plan and somebody who can catch two innings before we have to make a phone call.
Said manager Ron Washington, "That will only be a situation where we have no other choice."
Michael Young's double on Saturday was No. 322 of his career. That puts him in second place in Rangers history. Next is Ivan Rodriguez with 352. ...Vladimir Guerrero's 30 RBIs in May are not only the highest in the Majors but tied for his highest in one month in his career. He also had 30 in June, 2004. ... The Rangers have nine steals of third base, tied for the most in the Major Leagues.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.