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04/27/10 9:10 PM ET

Hunter may be ready for rehab assignment

ARLINGTON -- Rangers right-hander Tommy Hunter, on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle in his left ribcage, could be close to going on a rehab assignment. He is scheduled to pitch two innings in an extended spring training game on Wednesday in Surprise, Ariz.

Assistant general manager Thad Levine said if all goes well in that outing, the Rangers will send Hunter on rehab assignment to one of their Minor League teams.

Cruz's injury opens door for Murphy

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers loaded their lineup with right-handed bats with left-hander Mark Buehrle on the mound Tuesday night.

But it will be David Murphy who has to pick up the load now that Nelson Cruz is on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring muscle.

"He'll get most of the time against right-handed pitchers," manager Ron Washington said.

Cruz was placed on the disabled list before Tuesday's game with a strained right hamstring muscle and outfielder Craig Gentry was called up from Oklahoma City. The Rangers also considered Chad Tracy, but Gentry was already on the 40-man roster.

"Gentry has done a good job also," Washington said. "It was more or less because of the roster, but we've got good reports on Gentry. Plus, he can play all the outfield positions, so he does have value."

Gentry started in center field on Tuesday with Vladimir Guerrero in right and Ryan Garko at designated hitter. But that's because Buehrle was on the mound and they all hit right-handed. Murphy will be back in there on Wednesday and Thursday with right-handers Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd pitching for the White Sox.

"Nelson is irreplaceable after what he's done so far," Murphy said. "He's carried us on his back for a lot of the season. It's a huge loss."

Cruz is hitting .323 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs while leading the American League with a .758 slugging percentage. He started out the season as the Rangers fourth outfielder and had just one hit in his first 14 at-bats. But he went into Tuesday's game with four hits in his last 15 at-bats, including two doubles and a home run.

"I'm starting to feel better at the plate," Murphy said. "It's one of those things, more is less. The first weeks I was maybe not over-swinging, but the effort level was way up there. The last few games I've relax more, and the results have been there. I've squared up some balls and hit for some power."

Vlad gets first start in right field

ARLINGTON -- Vladimir Guerrero started in right field on Tuesday, his first start in the field this season for the Rangers. He had explicit instructions from manager Ron Washington.

"No diving for balls and if the ball gets by you, just hit the cutoff man," Washington said.

Washington was kidding. Guerrero had some physical issues last season that forced the Angels to use him almost exclusively at DH. His last start in the outfield was July 7 against the Rangers and he ended up injuring his left knee.

But Guerrero has looked much better this season, especially in running the bases. He already has three stolen bases and has been running the bases with abandon. The Rangers don't expect any issues with him in the field.

"I feel great," Guerrero said. "I knew I had to do some things this offseason to get more strength in my knee and I did that. I've felt fine since the beginning of Spring Training."

O'Day remains unavailable

ARLINGTON -- Reliever Darren O'Day was unavailable out of the Rangers' bullpen on Tuesday because of a strained muscle in his lower back. He was unavailable on Monday as well and hasn't pitched since Thursday in Boston. But the club is not considering him for the disabled list.

At least not yet.

"I slept on a soft bed or something and we've remedied that problem," O'Day said. "I feel better today. It's only a couple of days so hopefully we can avoid [the DL]. It bothered me for a couple of days, but it didn't get bad until [Monday]. Before that I could have pitched through it."

Neftali Feliz was the only other Rangers reliever not available for Tuesday's game. The Rangers weren't planning on using him after he pitched back-to-back on Sunday and Monday.

"We're fine today," manager Ron Washington said. "We have our fingers crossed and hope tomorrow O'Day will be ready."

No rushing Kinsler back because of Cruz

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are not going to rush second baseman Ian Kinsler back off the disabled list just because Nelson Cruz is out for a couple of weeks. Kinsler began his medical rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday night and was 0-for-3 with a walk.

The plan is for him to play two more games on Tuesday and Wednesday night. If all goes well, he will rejoin the team on Thursday for their flight to Seattle and be activated on Friday.

"We have a plan for Kinsler and want him to finish the process so when he gets back we feel good about what we're getting back," manager Ron Washington said. "We set a plan, and we want to follow through with it."

Kinsler has been sidelined since March 12 with a sprained right ankle.

Worth noting

All-Star voting has already been under way at texasrangers.com, but it also began on Tuesday night at the Ballpark in Arlington. ... The City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department has announced that the Dallas RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) and Jr. RBI programs, which are under Major League Baseball's umbrella and sponsored by the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, have been selected as the recipient of the L.B. Houston Team Award as the City's Best New Programs for 2009. ... In the first 10 home dates of 2010, the Rangers attracted 286,663 fans, an increase of 53,523 over the first 10 dates of 2009. The Rangers' average home attendance of 28,666 ranks fifth in the American League behind the Yankees (44,603), Angels (39,836), Twins (38,570) and Red Sox (37,506).

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.