ARLINGTON -- Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz, who was 3-for-23 with eight strikeouts in his last six games, was given a day off on Wednesday by manager Ron Washington.
"I knew he had been struggling, but I didn't look at any numbers," Washington said. "I just felt like it was time to give him a break."
Cruz is also hitting .206 with two home runs, six RBIs and a .338 slugging percentage in his last 18 games. David Murphy started in right field for the sixth time this season.
"You're going to be up and down, that's the way it is," Cruz said. "There's nothing new, just keep working."
Washington described Cruz's season at the plate as being inconsistent, and Cruz agreed.
"With all the numbers he's put up, they could certainly be better," Washington said.
Cruz, while emphasizing that he does not ask for days off, seemed at peace with the idea of not being in the lineup on Wednesday.
"We play a few games in a row," Cruz said. "It's part of it. It's a long season, so you get to these points where you feel like you need a chance to recover and prepare for the end of the season."
Wilson focused on pitching, not free agency
ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson can become a free agent in the offseason, but his focus remains on pitching instead of his contract.
The Angels recently signed Jered Weaver to a five-year, $85 million contract, but Wilson said he is not worried about how that deal might impact his impending free agency.
"I'm trying not to think about it," Wilson said Wednesday afternoon. "I have an agent that handles that. My job is to pitch. That's my job description. I take it upon myself to do other stuff, but I'm not sitting here trying to figure out what influences somebody else's thinking."
Weaver could not have been a free agent until after next season, but he wanted to stay with the Angels. He is from Southern California and didn't want to leave.
Right now, Wilson is 13-5 with a 3.08 ERA in 27 starts and 181 innings pitched. He has more wins and more innings pitched than any other unrestricted potential free agent this season.
Only Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, who is 9-14 with a 2.88 ERA, has a lower ERA. The other potential free-agent starter who compares to Wilson is White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle, who is 10-6 with a 3.19 ERA.
Other potential free agent starters include Edwin Jackson (9-9, 4.03 ERA), Bartolo Colon (8-8, 3.71 ERA), Bruce Chen (9-5, 4.12 ERA), Chris Capuano (9-11, 4.71 ERA), Freddy Garcia (10-7, 3.16 ERA), Livan Hernandez (7-11, 4.34 ERA), Jason Marquis (8-6, 4.43 ERA) and Brad Penny (9-9, 4.82).
Others could become free agents if their options are not picked up, most notably Chris Carpenter, Aaron Harang, Aaron Cook and Roy Oswalt. CC Sabathia could change the whole free-agent market if he decides to opt out on the remaining four years and $92 million on his contract. Another factor is if Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish is posted this winter and allowed to jump to the United States.
"It's not time to talk about it," Wilson said. "We haven't even clinched the division yet. I'm going out and trying to win and then I'll check out the situation when it is time to do that. I'm having a hard enough time pitching the way I'm supposed to."
Rangers prefer another reliever over catcher
ARLINGTON -- Catcher Taylor Teagarden was sent down because the Rangers wanted an extra reliever in the bullpen. That's why they recalled reliever Darren O'Day, giving the Rangers an extra reliever in the bullpen.
Long reliever Scott Feldman was used for 4 2/3 innings on Sunday and manager Ron Washington is still reluctant to use him right now.
"It's obvious we need some pitching," manager Ron Washington said. "Feldman threw close to 90 pitches the other day, and we really don't have any length. We're certainly not interested in hurting Feldman."
Still, Washington said that situation could change if Matt Harrison, Wednesday's starter, throws deep into the game. If so, the Rangers may yet make another move and bring up another catcher.
"Right now, we just want to see if we can get through today," Washington said. "If we get through today, we might decide something. If we don't get through today, it will stay the same, but we'll see."
Teagarden can't be recalled for 10 days, unless he replaces an injured player. But the Rangers have other catching options at Triple-A. Kevin Cash, who has experience in the Majors, had been starting at Round Rock, along with Robinzon Diaz. If the Rangers were to call up Cash or Diaz, they would have to open a spot on the 40-man roster.
Washington may re-work DH shuttle
ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington said he will have to re-think the way he uses his designated hitter now that third-string catcher Taylor Teagarden has been optioned back to Triple-A Round Rock.
With Adrian Beltre on the 15-day disabled list and Michael Young playing third base regularly, Washington had been shuttling Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba between catcher and designated hitter. Washington admitted that having Teagarden in reserve allowed him to do that.
But on Wednesday, Torrealba was not in the lineup for only the fourth time in 24 games since July 28. Napoli was in the lineup at catcher and has not missed a game since July 28. Prior to Wednesday, he has started 10 games at catcher, 10 games at designated hitter and four at first base.
Washington said until the Rangers get a third catcher back, he could rotate hitters among other position players.
"I've got [Ian] Kinsler there today, might get Mike [Young] there tomorrow," Washington said. "We'll get Hamilton there one day."
Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson is hosting a viewing of the baseball movie "The Sandlot" beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT on Monday at the Movie Tavern in Fort Worth. The event will benefit C.J. Wilson's Children's Charities and will include autograph signings, photo opportunities and merchandise sales. The Movie Tavern is at 2872 Crockett St. in Fort Worth.
Michael Young went into Wednesday's game hitting .372 at night, the second highest average in club history. Josh Hamilton hit .384 in 2010.
Ian Kinsler has 64 home runs in the leadoff spot since the beginning of 2008, tied for the most in the Majors along with Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.