ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said the club has no plans right now to move Alexi Ogando back to the bullpen. Ogando, who pitches Saturday against the Royals, is 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA as a starter, and the Rangers miss his late-inning presence in the back of the bullpen.
"We're going to straighten out what we've got and let Ogando take the ball every fifth day," Washington said. "You can't rob Peter to pay Paul, and you can't pay Paul until Peter gets it done."
The team with the strong bullpen is Triple-A Round Rock. Express relievers were 5-1 with a 3.27 ERA and eight saves in nine opportunities going into Friday's games. They had also struck out 68 against 23 walks.
Four pitchers who were in Rangers camp -- Yoshinori Tateyama, Cody Eppley, Yhency Brazoban and Zachary Phillips -- have a combined 2.12 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 34 innings.
Washington to let Cruz work things out
ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington said he would like to get Nelson Cruz at least one game at designated hitter before the current homestand ends.
But Washington said before Friday's game with the Royals that he doesn't see a need to give Cruz a complete day off even though the Rangers' outfielder went into the weekend with six hits in his last 37 at-bats. He also has no home runs and just two RBIs in that stretch of 10 games.
"The important thing is to get him going, and giving him the day off is not going to help," Washington said.
Washington said he sees Cruz trying to pull the ball too much rather than trying to use the entire field.
"It's important he stays in the big part of the field," Washington said. "Once he does that, the rest of it will take care of itself. It's nothing big ... he's just pulling off the ball. Pulling off against good pitching is not going to work."
Cruz hit .360 with five home runs and 10 RBIs in his first nine games. His last home run came on April 9 against the Orioles.
"I feel the same way I did at the start of the season," Cruz said. "The results just aren't there. I'm trying to go the other way. I'm not trying to pull the ball. I just have to keep working."
Rangers slow down since Hamilton injury
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers scored 60 runs in their first 10 games of the season. They scored 30 in their next eight. The drop in run production started with the game that Josh Hamilton broke a bone in his right shoulder, putting him on the disabled list for 6-8 weeks.
The Rangers were 9-1 going into that game. They were 2-6 in those next eight games before Friday night's 11-run eruption against Kansas City.
"We'd like to have him but we're also still really deep and really talented," infielder Michael Young said before driving in two runs and extending his hitting streak to 12 games on Friday. "We should be able to pick up the slack and be fine."
Young proved to be right, at least for one night, as the Rangers showed signs of returning to their early season form on Friday, blasting a season-high five homers on their way to an 11-6 victory over the Royals.
Prior to Friday's game, manager Ron Washington said the Rangers' biggest problem offensively is they have run into a stretch of good opposing pitching.
"Do we miss Hamilton? Yes we do," Washington said. "Do the games stop? No they don't. The only person who can tell you if the guys are pressing are the guys out there. But I don't see it. I see us facing good pitching. It's not going to get any better. We have targets on our backs."
Washington pointed out that Angels pitcher Matt Palmer allowed five runs on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings in his first start of the season against the Blue Jays. Against the Rangers he allowed one run on three hits in six innings.
"The last time out [Palmer] got beat, but he got up for the Texas Rangers," Washington said. "I don't know if that's the best game he has ever thrown but he had good stuff. We're going to see good pitching from here on out."
Rehabbing Hunter throws long and well
ARLINGTON -- Tommy Hunter, on the disabled list with a strained right groin muscle, threw in the bullpen on Friday and also went through a series of agility drills designed to test the injury. Everything went well.
"I threw a long time and I felt good," Hunter said.
Hunter said he didn't know how long he threw or how many pitches.
"It was long ... forever," Hunter said.
The next step will be to throw 50 pitches in live batting practice on Monday here in Arlington. If that goes well, he could either throw one more session or be assigned to extended Spring Training to begin throwing in games.
"He passed the test as far as the injury, now it's just a matter of going through the Spring Training part of throwing to hitters," pitching coach Mike Maddux said.
Brandon Webb threw long toss on Friday and then flew to Arizona, where he will continue his rehabilitation work. Webb will throw two innings or 30 pitches in an extended Spring Training game on Monday.
Scott Feldman will throw two innings or 35 pitches in an extended Spring Training on Saturday.
Treanor, Francoeur receive their rings
ARLINGTON -- Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur and catcher Matt Treanor received their American League championship rings from the Rangers in pregame ceremonies on Friday night. Both played for the Rangers in the World Series last season.
"For Matt and me, it's just a special time to relive what we had here last year," Francoeur said, "For the last three weeks now, a couple of the guys have sent me pictures and texts showing the rings, so to be able to get them tonight is going to be a lot of fun."
Francoeur signed with the Royals as a free agent in the offseason, and Treanor was traded to Kansas City right at the end of Spring Training. That kept him from being a part of the original ring ceremony before the Rangers' second game of the season.
"That was one of the things in the shock of leaving for Kansas City right away was not being able to share that moment with my teammates," Treanor said. "But being able to come back here in the stadium is going to be nice.
"I was definitely fortunate to be in the right place at the right time with the right group of guys. The stars aligned. It was a unique situation and I think about it often and how grateful I was for that, and it's something I'll always remember."
Trio to be honored before Saturday's game
ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton will receive his MLB.com/MLB Network Gibby Award as the 2010 Major League Player of the Year before Saturday night's game with the Royals. Hamilton, who is currently on the disabled list, hit .359 with 32 home runs and 100 RBIs last season.
He will also receive a Louisville Slugger Silver Bat for being the American League batting champion, the 2010 Players Choice Award as A.L. Outstanding Player, and his Silver Slugger Award.
Adrian Beltre, who was with the Red Sox last season, will receive a Silver Slugger award for being the top-hitting third baseman, while Elvis Andrus will receive his Gibby for being the Defensive Player of the Year.
Saturday's radio broadcast will be on 660 AM KSKY.
A very limited number of reserved seats remain for the Rangers' home games with the New York Yankees on Friday and Saturday, May 6-7, both 7:05 p.m. CT starts. Once those seats have been sold, the club will place obstructed view and standing-room-only tickets on sale for the two games.
Approximately 2,500 reserved seats remain for the finale of the Rangers-Yankees series on Sunday, May 8, at 1:05 p.m. CT
Rangers starters went into Friday's games averaging 101.3 pitches per start, second most in the American League.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.