ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton was in the Rangers' lineup playing center field for the 26th time this season but only the second time since Aug. 20.

Craig Gentry, who has started 33 games in center but just two games in right field, was given the start in right on Friday, as Rangers manager Ron Washington wanted to get Hamilton more familiarity with the position.

"I'd just like to get Hamilton some repetition out there," Washington said. "He hasn't been over there in a while, so I thought tonight I'd get him over there."

With Nelson Cruz expected to return to right field on Saturday and David Murphy on a hot streak, Hamilton will likely start in center field for the playoffs, which increases the need for Hamilton to acclimate himself to the more difficult position of center.

"We're going to go day to day," Washington said. "See how much it wears him down tonight, then I'll decide tomorrow. If he makes it look easy, you might see him back out there."

Hamstring keeps Lowe out at least two weeks

ARLINGTON -- Rangers reliever Mark Lowe will be out two to four weeks with the hamstring that he strained running on Wednesday.

"He said two to four weeks, but he also said it could be sooner, it could be longer," Lowe said.

Lowe, who was checked by Dr. Keith Meister on Thursday, will almost certainly miss a possible American League Division Series.

If the ALDS goes the full five games, the final game would be on Oct. 6, which would be exactly two weeks from Meister's fastest estimate.

Teams are allowed to alter rosters between series, so if Lowe is healthy, he could be added for a potential AL Championship Series.

Lowe said he would travel with the team and could begin throwing again on next Wednesday. Regardless, he said he would not rush back if he isn't ready to pitch at a high level.

"I'm going to do everything I can to be ready, but I'm not going to do anything to jeopardize what this team's done all year," Lowe said. "I'm not going to try to be a hero and be selfish. If I can get out there and do it, I'm going to do it. If I can't, I'll wait for it."

The injury was a freak occurrence for Lowe, who said he's never had any injury issues with his legs and was completing a workout that he does before every game.

"I've never had any hamstring problems, ever," Lowe said. "No quads, no hammies, no calves, all arm and back."

Lowe, who has a 3.80 ERA in 52 games, was expected to be one of the 25 players the Rangers would place on their roster for the ALDS. With him out, that makes room for possible additions such as Scott Feldman, Yoshinori Tateyama, Darren O'Day and Michael Kirkman.

"I will get O'Day and Tateyama some work," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "When we get this thing wrapped up, we can get it at any time. Right now we've got to continue to win ballgames, so I'll put them in when I can."

Rangers play it safe, keep Cruz in DH role

ARLINGTON -- Despite earlier plans to start Nelson Cruz in right field for Friday's game against the Mariners, Cruz found himself starting at designated hitter for the sixth consecutive game.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said the team got in to Texas around 11 p.m. CT on Thursday, and he didn't want to start Cruz in right because of the lack of rest for Cruz's strained left hamstring.

"[Cruz will start in right] when we feel like it's time," Washington said. "I just didn't feel like it was time. Got in late last night and I just wanted to make sure there was no breakdown."

Washington also said that Cruz's first starts in the outfield would likely be limited to seven innings just to ensure that his hamstring is not overtaxed.

"It will probably be seven-inning spurts right off the bat," Washington said. "When Gary Pettis tells me he's ready to go, he sees the work he's doing and he's ready to go, then I'll put him out there. I thought it would be today, but we got in late, and I don't want to take a shot."

Worth noting

• Double-A Frisco manager Steve Buechele joined the Major League squad before Friday's game.

• During the last 30 games going into Friday's game, the Rangers have compiled a .991 fielding percentage and have two fewer errors than any other team in the Majors in that timespan.

• The Rangers are 23-3 in games in which they hit three or more home runs.

• The Rangers announced that 6,500 tickets remain for each of the next two games.