05/14/10 8:44 PM ET
Wilson not satisfied despite great start
By James Hall / MLB.com
While the former reliever is off to a torrid start in 2010 -- 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA over seven starts -- he insisted that he is anything but satisfied.
"All the guys that are the best in the big leagues really are the guys who work the hardest," Wilson said. "I don't want to leave any stones unturned, whether it's in the weight room, with my running routine, or relying on the expertise of everyone else that has been in a similar situation to myself.
"I ask our staff a lot of questions. I ask our strength and conditioning guy, 'Hey, what did [Tom] Glavine do when you had him?' I'll ask the Blue Jays guy, 'Hey, what did Roy Halladay do?' You do what the successful guys do, and then that's how you become one of the best."
For Wilson, a starting rotation spot out of Spring Training was all but a guarantee, but the opportunistic left-hander seized the chance and ran with it.
"I was told I had a slim chance to take that spot," Wilson said. "When they first put me in the bullpen, I did well enough to stick, and that's kind of the issue in baseball -- if you do something well, they'll keep you there."
He had 14 saves with a 2.81 ERA over 73 2/3 innings in 2009.
Wilson, who was moved into the bullpen after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2003, said he has no concerns about the added workload, citing minimal changes to his workout routine.
"That was so long ago," Wilson said. "The big thing for me is to minimize the stress in my arm. Per pitch, I don't throw as hard as I used to. As a reliever, you come in and throw every ball at 100 percent. As a starter, I'm throwing the ball 87-88 percent, so it's easier on my body."
Although it is not uncommon for members of the bullpen to assume a spot in the rotation, Wilson has made the transition look seamless. The 29 year-old out of Newport Beach said it was easy for him to revert back into a starter's mentality, where he was back in 2002 in the Minor Leagues.
"You're forcing guys to hit the ball a certain way as opposed to making sure they don't hit it at all," Wilson said. "As a reliever, I literally threw the ball as hard as I could. Now it's changeup, curveball, cutter, sidearm, whatever."
No matter what the future holds for Wilson, you know exactly what you're going to get.
"Every time I have a chance to do something, I do it to the furthest of my ability -- that's the kind of person I am."
Cruz activated off 15-day disabled list
TORONTO -- Right fielder Nelson Cruz made his much anticipated return to the Rangers' lineup against the Blue Jays on Friday night at Rogers Centre, and had four RBIs by the second inning.
Cruz, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 27 with a strained right hamstring, hit sixth in a lineup that has been praised for its power.
"This is probably the first game since Spring Training that the whole team is playing together," Cruz said. "It's really exciting to see what we can do all together as a team."
In 2009, the Rangers were second in the American League with 224 home runs, but entering Friday's contest, they were in a three-way tie for seventh in the AL with only 32 home runs, 20 behind the Major League leading Blue Jays.
Last season, Cruz hit 33 homers with 76 RBIs, a bat Rangers manager Ron Washington said the team is thrilled to have back in the order.
"Yeah, it's nice to have them out there together," Washington said about his starting lineup -- one he hasn't seen since mid-March. "Pitchers definitely will have some work to do. You got one through seven, and they can take eight and nine lightly if they want to, and they could get hurt there too."
Through two Minor League games with Triple-A Oklahoma City, Cruz went 3-for-9 with three RBIs.
"The first time up there was kind of tough, the first at-bat it was hard to make contact because my timing was off," Cruz said. "My other three at-bats, I was pretty good, I hit a double and when I struck out, I still saw all really good pitches. The next game was really good, I had two hits and I hit line drives -- definitely were good at-bats."
As for his hamstring, Cruz said he took an early jog around the stadium with absolutely no pain. Washington, however, said he does not like the artificial turf at Rogers Centre and has decided to give a few of his starters a day off over the weekend, including second baseman Ian Kinsler for Saturday's contest and possibly Cruz, who hit a sacrifice fly and a three-run double in his first two plate appearances Friday, either Saturday or Sunday.
"We can't have too many of them out together," Washington said. "[The turf] bothers me more as a coach, I still don't know how they do it."
With the move to reactivate Cruz, first baseman Ryan Garko -- .091 with three RBIs this season -- has been optioned to Oklahoma City.
Arias expected to return from DL Saturday
TORONTO -- Rangers second baseman Joaquin Arias is eligible and expected to come off the 15-day disabled list on Saturday against the Blue Jays.
Arias -- hitting .321 over 17 games with Texas this season -- was placed on the DL on April 30 with a lower back strain. He started all four games in his rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco at first base, hitting .200 with one RBI over that span.
It is likely that outfielder Craig Gentry -- .231 in 13 at-bats -- will be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he spent the bulk of last season, to make room for the versatile infielder. Gentry was given the start Friday night against the Blue Jays against left-hander Brett Cecil.
"We got two lefties [Cecil and Ricky Romero]," manager Ron Washington said. "He's still here, I just want to give him a shot to play."
Washington was also unsure who he would start against Romero on Saturday.
"Tomorrow, I may have a lefty in there against their lefty," he said. "[David] Murphy may be up there tomorrow, [Julio] Borbon may be up there tomorrow, I just haven't decided yet. They got some pretty good lefties, I just want to make sure we give ourselves a chance."
James Hall is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.