Guerrero back in the fold against Rays
Designated hitter returns after missing time with eye injury
ARLINGTON -- Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero returned to the Rangers' lineup on Friday for the first time since injuring his eye during batting practice on Wednesday in Chicago.Guerrero was struck with a ball that ricocheted off the batting cage, and has missed the last two games. But he told manager Ron Washington that he was good-to-go prior to the Rangers' game against the Rays. "I'm fine. I feel better ... a lot better than [Thursday]. There's no pain," Guerrero said. "The swelling is almost all the way out. It's been on ice. I definitely feel better." Washington said the lineup may change depending on how Guerrero feels after batting practice. "We're going to find out. We want him to work out and we'll see what happens when he gets heated up," Washington said. "We're going to make sure he's seeing the ball well. If all that goes well, he'll stay in the lineup." Should anything be wrong, Washington said he won't hesitate to sit Guerrero for the third consecutive game. "We'll make sure at game time he can still see and everything," Washington said. "If he can't, we'll wait another day ... it still looks like somebody punched him." Guerrero said he was able to see (Thursday) and may have been able to play, but Washington didn't even entertain the thought. "I didn't even ask [if he could play]," Washington said. "I just told him he wasn't playing when I saw the way he looked when he came in. I didn't even take a chance." Guerrero leads the American League with a .385 average at home and is second the league in RBIs with 44, trailing only Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers.
Holland to play catch on Saturday
ARLINGTON -- Starter Derek Holland, who went on the 15-day disabled list on June 1, will play catch on Saturday for the first time since his injury.Holland left in the second inning of last Sunday's game against the Twins with mild inflammation of the left rotator cuff. "He'll play catch [Saturday] and then they'll stretch him out on flat ground," manager Ron Washington said. "He'll then throw a bullpen [session] and we'll see where we are from there. Once he throws a bullpen then we can make a call." Holland said it's been stressful having to sit around idle and not throw. "I'm not going to lie, its very nerve-racking just waiting," Holland said. "You want to get out there; you want to start doing things. But the best thing to do is take it slow. You don't want to rush into anything." Since being placed on the DL, Holland has been doing light strength conditioning. "I've been doing shoulder stuff just to get myself stronger and hope that it doesn't happen again," Holland said. "It's best for me not to take it one day at a time and not look ahead." The Rangers called up Tommy Hunter from Triple-A Oklahoma City to fill Holland's spot in the rotation. Hunter went 9-6 with a 4.10 ERA for the Rangers last season, so Washington isn't under pressure to rush Holland back. "The urgency is that he only get healthy," Washington said. "Whatever time that takes. If he can get it done in the next 15 days we'll make a call."
Kinsler sticking in the troubled No. 3 spot
ARLINGTON -- The numbers aren't good for hitters in the No. 3 spot in the Rangers' lineup.Entering Friday's game against the Rays, No. 3 hitters for Texas were batting .250, which is 10th best for that spot in the American League. The Rangers owned the eighth-best slugging percentage at .440, but their on-base percentage was .311, second lowest in the American League. Both Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton have hit better in the fifth spot. Kinsler, going into Friday, was hitting .213 as the No. 3 hitter and .321 in the No. 5 spot. Hamilton was hitting .273 at No. 3 and .354 at No. 5. But somebody has to hit No. 3, and manager Ron Washington is staying with Kinsler right now while Hamilton hits fifth. "We just have to hold on, that's all we can do," Washington said. "We're not going to bounce them back-and-forth. I'm sticking with Kinsler. If we make a move and Hamilton starts struggling, what am I going to do? Move it again?" Vladimir Guerrero has hit third for much of his career, but Washington wants to keep him in the cleanup spot.
Rangers looking to beat Texas heat
ARLINGTON -- As baseball nears the heat of summer, Rangers manager Ron Washington is looking for ways to keep his team cool."We'll monitor it as we have the last three years," Washington said. "We'll work one day and not work the next. If the next one is a day game, we'll get two out of it." Both of the Rangers' home games this weekend will be played during the day, when temperatures are expected to hit triple digits. As a result, Washington is already taking measures to give his players a break. "We'll cut the [batting practice] a little shorter, so they can get out of the heat," Washington said. "We've got three groups and we'll cut it down to 10-12 minutes." The Rangers' games this weekend are scheduled for 3:10 and 2:10 p.m. CT, respectively. Saturday's game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. before the game was picked up by FOX. Recently recalled Tommy Hunter will start Saturday in place of the injured Derek Holland. Washington didn't expect the high temperatures to affect Hunter, but he did have a stern warning for his pitcher on being able to handle the heat. "He better," Washington said. "I believe [James] Shields will be able to."
ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Nelson Cruz ran on a treadmill Thursday and will be on the field for Friday's game. He's on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. ... The Rangers' pitching rotation has made a full turn without a quality start and has just three in the last 18 games. ... With his multihit game on Thursday, third baseman Michael Young now has 25 this season, third-most in the American League. Young also has the highest batting average in the Major Leagues since May 1 at .385. ... Reliever Darren Oliver owns a 0.86 ERA over his last 19 outings and opponents are now batting just .143 against him in his last 12 appearances.
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.