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07/16/10 6:56 PM ET

Hamilton back in lineup; Borbon sits

All-Star shakes off knee to start in center; Murphy starts in left

BOSTON -- Josh Hamilton was back in the Rangers' lineup on Friday, one night after leaving Thursday's game with tightness in a muscle behind his right knee.

Hamilton was even in center field. Julio Borbon was given the night off, with David Murphy starting in left field. Rangers manager Ron Washington said Hamilton is ready to go.

"He's great ... well, not great, but he's fine," Washington said. "We've got a different Hamilton now. He's learning how to play hurt. Not injured, but he has a different mindset. He knows how to deal with those aches and pains. His mindset is he wants to play."

Hamilton will need that mindset. Washington worked hard to give his regulars some time off before the All-Star break. He's not looking to do that anymore.

"We're going to saddle up those thoroughbreds and ride them to the end," Washington said.

Murphy is part of that stable; that's why Washington still wants to get him some playing time. Right now, Murphy is back to starting against left-handers, and the Red Sox started rookie southpaw Felix Doubront on Friday night. Washington said he wants to give Borbon time off against tough left-handers.

"This one throws with good velocity," Washington said of Doubront. "I just think Murph will handle him better."

Borbon has also hit a little dip. He is 1-for-13 in his last four games, and is hitting .180 in his last 15 games. Prior to that, he was hitting .306 over 69 games, a stretch that began when he was moved to ninth in the lineup.

"I got out of that big hole early so ... I'm in a good spot," Borbon said. "I've just got to continue to grind and finish strong. We have plenty of games left."

Cruz follows coaches' instructions

BOSTON -- Nelson Cruz made a diving catch in the sixth inning during Thursday's 7-2 victory over the Red Sox. Cruz made the play on a sinking line drive by Kevin Youkilis, and manager Ron Washington and outfield coach Gary Pettis were thrilled.

"He finally did it my way," Pettis said.

Cruz has been trying to make those catches by sliding feet first. He wasn't very successful at it, and Pettis spoke to Cruz before Thursday's game about trying to dive head-first to make those catches. Cruz did so.

"Wasn't that exciting," Washington said.

"You just react, you don't think about it," Cruz said.

Hawkins reflects on Steinbrenner

BOSTON -- Andy Hawkins spent 10 years pitching in the Major Leagues, and three of those were with the Yankees under owner George Steinbrenner, who passed away on Tuesday.

Hawkins still remembers throwing a no-hitter against the White Sox on July 1, 1989, only to lose the game, 4-0, on a couple of errors by his outfielders.

"I'll tell you what -- when I threw that no-hitter, [Steinbrenner] called down to the field and told me he wanted to buy me a Jeep Wrangler," Hawkins said. "I thanked him, but told him that he was paying me a good salary and he didn't have to do that. He didn't have to reward me for doing my job. He was already paying me a good salary.

"He took care of people. I know a lot of guys got fired there, but they were just re-assigned and he was still close to all of them."

Cuban interested in joining Greenberg, Ryan

BOSTON -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has offered to join Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan in their attempt to buy the Rangers. Greenberg and Ryan head a total of 12 investors who are trying to buy the franchise, and Cuban has offered to join forces with them.

"I want to see the Rangers run," Cuban said to KTCK-AM in Dallas. "I think Chuck and Ryan deserve a lot of credit, and what they're doing is a good thing, but with the way the deal has been structured, there is some risk there. And so I offered to help on a bunch of different levels, so let's see what happens."

A few years ago Cuban tried to buy the Cubs, but lost out to the current ownership group. The Greenberg-Ryan group reached an agreement on Jan. 23 to purchase the Rangers and land around the Ballpark in Arlington for $575 million, but the sale is currently bogged down in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Worth noting

Michael Young's next run will tie him with Juan Gonzalez for second most in team history. Gonzalez has 878, and Rafael Palmeiro leads with 958. ... Darren Oliver's appearance on Thursday was No. 232 with the Rangers, and that ties him for 10th with Mitch Williams. ... Outfielder Brandon Boggs (wrist) has been activated off the disabled list at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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