ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, is expected to be sent out on a medical rehabilitation assignment on Thursday and should be activated on Monday.

Ian Kinsler will not be that quick, even though he received good news after having an MRI exam on his strained left groin muscle Tuesday. The MRI showed significant improvement, and Kinsler resumed taking batting practice on Tuesday and running sprints in the outfield.

Kinsler will continue to increase his workouts as the week progresses, but the Rangers are going to be extra careful with him. They realize that if he suffers another leg injury, he could be through for the season.

"I need to take my time to get into shape," Kinsler said. "I don't want to pull a hamstring because I'm not in shape. I want to make sure my body is ready to go."

Cruz is different than Kinsler. Cruz went on the DL on Aug. 16 as a precautionary measure, but never really stopped working out. He shouldn't need as much time to get ready.

"I haven't had any issues," Cruz said. "I've been running since I've been on the DL."

Kinsler has done almost nothing to this point since being placed on the DL on July 29. He also missed the first month of the season with a sprained ankle that really took six weeks to heal. One more injury could easily end his season even if the Rangers make the playoffs.

"We're going to make sure Kins is ready to go," manager Ron Washington said. "His bottom half has to be ready to go."

Harden-Treanor tandem works well

ARLINGTON -- Matt Treanor and Rich Harden were paired in a start last week in Oklahoma City while both were on medical rehabilitation assignment. They worked well together on some things, and that's why Harden requested that Treanor catch him on Monday night.

Harden ended up throwing 6 2/3 no-hit innings in a 4-0 combined one-hitter over the Twins at the Ballpark in Arlington.

"I didn't think about it," manager Ron Washington said. "He just asked [for Treanor] and I just did it. If this will make Rich pitch good, he's got Treanor. But I'm not going to let all these pitchers tell me they want certain catchers. That isn't going to work."

Monday was Treanor's first game after being activated off the disabled list, and catching a potential no-hitter was a rare event for him.

"It was fun, a lot of fun," Treanor said. "Honestly, the only other time I was a part of something like that was my first game in the big leagues [with the Marlins]. Dontrelle Willis threw 6 2/3 perfect innings, although we ended up losing, 2-1. That will be memorable because it was my first game in the big leagues, but last night, I will remember that for a long time."

Rangers being cautious with Francisco

ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington said the Rangers are trying to be careful with reliever Frank Francisco, who has been dealing with some soreness in his right ribcage area. Francisco had a cortisone shot under his armpit after Monday's game.

Francisco has pitched just twice since back-to-back outings against the Yankees on Aug. 10-11. He appeared twice on the previous road trip, but threw just seven pitches total.

Washington said Francisco is still his primary eighth-inning reliever. But on Monday night, with a no-hitter on the line, Washington went with Darren O'Day in the eighth inning, and Francisco did not pitch.

"He's fine, but if we could stay away from him, we were going to stay away from him," Washington said.

Francisco still has a 2.19 ERA since the All-Star break, as opposed to a 4.28 ERA in the first half.

Texas' one-hitter rare in more ways than one

ARLINGTON -- The Twins led the Majors in hitting going into Monday's game against the Rangers before being held to one hit by Rich Harden and three relievers. That's the first time since May 24, 2008, that the team leading the Majors in hitting was held to just one hit.

A's pitchers Justin Duchscherer and Huston Street did it against the Red Sox. David Ortiz had the only hit for the Red Sox, and the home-plate umpire was Jim Joyce, who was behind the plate for Monday's game, as well.

But to have it happen this late in the season? That hasn't happened in 34 years. The last time was on Oct. 2, 1976, when the Braves' Phil Niekro threw a one-hit complete game against the Reds.

The Reds had already clinched the National League West title on their way to a second consecutive World Series championship, and their lineup was missing Joe Morgan and George Foster. But they did have Pete Rose, Ken Griffey, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and Dave Concepcion in the lineup that day.

The Reds would not lose again that year. They beat the Braves the next day to end the regular season, then swept the Phillies in the NL Championship Series and the Yankees in the World Series.

Rangers call up Cora, designate Arias

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers called up second baseman Alex Cora from Triple-A Oklahoma City and designated infielder Joaquin Arias for assignment on Tuesday.

Cora, who was released by the Mets on Aug. 11, joined the Rangers for Tuesday's game against the Twins. The Rangers have 10 days to trade Arias, release him or get him through outright waivers.

Arias was hitting .276 in 50 games for Texas this season while twice going on the disabled list. But the Rangers, with both Ian Kinsler and Cristian Guzman on the DL, had lost all confidence in him as a viable option in the infield. Andres Blanco has taken over as the Rangers' regular second baseman while Kinsler and Guzman are out.

"The general thought going down the stretch is there is some value of having another guy who is playoff-tested and has a little more experience," Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said.

Cora has played in all or parts of 13 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Dodgers, Indians, Red Sox and Mets. He has played in 13 postseason games, including two for the Red Sox in the 2007 World Series against the Rockies. He was hitting .207 for the Mets when they released him.

The Rangers signed him to a Triple-A Oklahoma City contract last week, and he was 4-for-22 in six games before being recalled on Tuesday.

Arias was one of two players acquired from the Yankees in 2004 for shortstop Alex Rodriguez. He was once considered a premier defensive player, but he injured his shoulder three years ago in Spring Training and never fully regained his arm strength.

Worth noting

Elvis Andrus took a 13-game hitting streak into Tuesday's game. It's his third hitting streak of 13-plus games. ... Rangers pitchers have posted five shutouts since the All-Star break. They had two before the break. ... Oklahoma City pitcher Omar Beltre turned 29 on Tuesday.