ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are sticking with struggling first baseman Justin Smoak even though Chris Davis is now leading the Pacific Coast League in hitting.Smoak snapped an 0-for-25 skid at the plate Monday night with a line drive single in the sixth against the Indians. Meanwhile, down at Oklahoma City, Davis has the best batting average in the Pacific Coast League (.349) and is eighth in slugging percentage (.542) and 12th in on-base percentage (.397). He also has nine home runs and 53 RBIs. "Chris is playing extremely well, but we have no plans to make a change right now," general manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday. Smoak says it's encouraging to have the organization back him through his struggles, but he knows he still has to come out of his current slump soon. He is 5-for-44 (.114) with just two RBIs in his last 13 games "I'm here for a reason, because they've believed in me just as much as I believe in myself," Smoak said. "There's nothing that's going to stop me from trying to get better or stop me from trying to be the player that I know I can be. It's just one of those things where I've got to keep working hard to come out of it." It's been an up-and-down season for Smoak, who despite his hitless streak finds himself second among American League rookies with eight home runs and 34 RBIs. "I feel like I've been taking good at-bats, making good contact," Smoak said. "I've just been unfortunate sometimes. You've got to keep working hard in this game and get better."
Harrison expected to start on Saturday
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are planning to bring Matt Harrison back as their fifth starter.Harrison is expected to start on Saturday night against the Orioles after the Rangers optioned Omar Beltre back to the Minor Leagues on Tuesday. Right-hander Doug Mathis was recalled and placed in the bullpen. He'll likely be there until Saturday when the Rangers plan on recalling Harrison from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Harrison, who allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings in a start for Oklahoma City on Monday, was 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA in six starts for the Rangers earlier this season. Harrison could be a temporary solution until the Rangers get Rich Harden or Derek Holland off the disabled list. Harden, who is sidelined with a strained lower back muscle, threw approximately 60 pitched in a simulated game at the Ballpark in Arlington. Harden, who was 3-3 with a 5.68 ERA in 13 starts, said he feels 100 percent physically. The next step is a bullpen session on Thursday. If that goes well, Harden could be ready to go to the Minor Leagues on a medical rehabilitation assignment. "I feel 100 percent," Harden said. "I feel good and ready to go. It's a matter of getting in game situations and getting my pitch count up. I'd like to get back out there as soon as possible." After Saturday, the Rangers won't need a fifth starter until July 19 against the Tigers. Harden could be ready by then, but the Rangers will likely want him to get at least two starts on medical rehabilitation assignment. The Rangers still want him to work out the command and control problems that plagued him before he was placed on the disabled list. If Harden needs at least two starts, it's unlikely that he'll be ready on July 19. That's the fifth game after the All-Star break. Holland remains another possibility, but he is still behind Harden. Holland, who is sidelined with left shoulder inflammation and a sprained right shoulder, is working out in Surprise, Ariz. He threw on flat ground on Tuesday and is scheduled to throw off the mound on Wednesday.
Washington decides to rest Young, Andrus
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to rest Michael Young and Elvis Andrus on Tuesday night against the Indians. They were replaced by Andres Blanco at third base and Joaquin Arias at shortstop.Washington elected to rest Young because of his struggles on the recent homestand. In that time, he's hit .200 (6-for-30) with two doubles and three runs scored. "If you've looked at the last four or five games he's played, that's not Michael," Washington said. "I'm just going on my gut. My gut said today is a good day. I've still got his bat on the bench." It marks Young's first day off this season. He's the only Ranger to have played in all 82 games this year. "We talked about it yesterday before batting practice," Young said. "I think at that point, we had reached the halfway point in the year. I just want to make sure I stay healthy. I felt great last year before I pulled my hamstring. I just want to make sure that if I can take a day here or there I stay healthy and keep my body fresh for the season." Washington decided to rest Andrus because of some minor injuries he's encountered over the last few weeks. "Elvis has been dealing with a lot of little nagging injuries," Washington said. "The past few days, he's been diving all over the place. I felt like it was time too. "Elvis plays with reckless abandon. I just felt like we needed to back off a little." Despite not starting, Young made sure he took the opportunity to work extra in the batting cages and work on his fielding. "I think days off are a good time to get some work in," Young said. "I got here and went straight to the cage. I got a lot of work done and then I took some ground balls.
Hamilton named Player of the Month
ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was named the American League Player of the Month for June on Monday.Hamilton led the Majors in average (.454), RBIs (31), hits (49), total bases (88th), slugging (.815), on-base percentage (.484) while also leading in home runs with nine. He was tied in extra-base hits with 20. "It's an honor. There are a lot of good players in the league," Hamilton said. "But most exciting to me is playing well and winning ballgames. Hopefully we can get back on both those tracks." The numbers helped put Hamilton in the Rangers' record book, as his 31 RBIs established a team record for June while his 88 total bases was the fourth-most in any month. It marked his third Player of the Month honor, as he also won the award in April and May of 2008. He joins Rafael Palmeiro and Alex Rodriguez as the only Rangers to win the award three times. "That's a slam dunk right there. He had a huge June," third baseman Michael Young said. "He got hot and stayed hot. You normally don't see that for a month, you see it for about four or five games. But he made some great adjustments. He was really disciplined in his approach and during the game and it really paid off for him."
The Rangers have opened the month of July by scoring three runs or fewer in a season-high five consecutvie games. ... The Rangers have gone from first-to-third base on a single eight more times than any other big league team this season. ... The bullpen allowed five earned runs Monday night, the most since they gave up five on June 6 against Tampa Bay. ... Alexi Ogando saw his scoreless-innings streak to begin a career end last night at 11 on a home run by Jayson Nix. ... Josh Hamilton extended his home hitting streak to 25 games Monday night, bringing him within five games of tying the club record held by Al Oliver.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.