Vlad hot again; option on back-burner
Focused on this season, veteran has 16 hits in past 31 at-bats,
ARLINGTON -- Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero said there's been no real secret to him breaking out of a slump that lasted most of July and into early August. He is hot again, with 16 hits in his past 31 at-bats.
After hits in his first two at-bats on Sunday, Guerrero has hit safely in eight straight games, and he's also driving in runs again. He has 17 RBIs in 21 games, and he has collected over 100 RBIs for the 10th time in his career.
Guerrero said before Sunday's game that his recent success is a product of having a more normal season in which he hasn't been hurt. He has 527 at-bats entering Sunday, so he's endured the typical peaks and valleys of a Major League season.
"Last year, I had injuries and I didn't play enough," Guerrero said. "I had only about 300 at-bats. Now I have the at-bats I usually have in a year. I haven't done anything differently. I've just kept my head up."
Guerrero said he hasn't thought much about next season -- he and the Rangers have a mutual option on a $9 million deal for 2011 (Texas has a $1 million buyout).
"I'm not going to worry about that now," Guerrero said. "I'll try to keep playing, play the best that I can and try to stay away from injuries."
Return to Rangers lineup up to Hamilton
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said it's up to Josh Hamilton when the outfielder will return to the lineup after being out eight straight games with bruised left ribs.
"It's up to Hamilton," Washington said. "It's up to him."
Hamilton had an MRI on Saturday that revealed only bruising. All X-rays have come back negative. Washington said Hamilton is day-to-day and will start taking batting practice again when he's ready.
"When he tells me he's ready to go, he'll start taking BP and get it going," Washington said.
Holland aims to go deeper on Tuesday
ARLINGTON -- Left-hander Derek Holland impressed with quality stuff in his start Wednesday night in Toronto that helped the Rangers end a five-game losing streak.
But there's still room for improvement, and Holland said Sunday he realizes that. He'll be looking to pitch deeper into the game Tuesday against Detroit after lasting just five innings and throwing 88 pitches in the 8-1 victory over Toronto.
"I have to keep my pitch count down," Holland said. "It hurt me the last game."
Holland said he has to be careful about falling behind in counts. He threw only 11 first-pitch strikes to 20 batters.
Reliever Frankie Francisco will have an MRI on Monday on the muscle strain in his side to see if there's been any improvement. Francisco was eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday. ... Manager Ron Washington won his 320th game Saturday, passing Buck Showalter for third place on the Rangers' all-time list. He trails only Bobby Valentine (581) and Johnny Oates (506). "I've been lucky," Washington said. "Lucky the players have been responding to what we're trying to do."
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.