09/19/10 4:00 PM ET
Vlad OK, back in lineup after plunking
By / MLB.com
Hamilton better, but no ETA for Rangers return
SEATTLE -- A glimmer of sunshine peeked into Josh Hamilton's life on Sunday as he continues to deal with the bruised right rib cage.After a week of no progress, he actually woke up feeling better on Sunday. "It feels a little better today," Hamilton said. "It feels better as far as everyday stuff like rolling over in bed and getting out of bed. This is the first day since I ran and swung a little bit [on Tuesday] that I've started feeling better. "But it's one of those things that when I start to feel better, if I try to do something, I have a setback." Hamilton will be examined again on Monday and other treatment may be considered, including a nerve-deadening injection. "We're going to look at other options," Hamilton said. "I'll let you know tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow is a big day." While Hamilton has been out, the Rangers have been going with an outfield of David Murphy in left, Julio Borbon in center and Nelson Cruz in right. When there is a left-hander on the mound, Jeff Francoeur plays right, Cruz moves to left and Murphy starts in center. The Rangers still expect Hamilton to be ready by the time the playoffs starts. They also know there is a possibility he won't be available. Manager Ron Washington said the Rangers will push forward with or without Hamilton. "One guy doesn't control baseball," Washington said. "Baseball will continue. The Texas Rangers will continue. We need Josh. But if Josh is not there, we're not going to lie down. We've got some players and we're going to play. "That means this is a team that survives. We've done it all year and we'll continue. Are we going to use it as an excuse that Josh is not here? That's not going to happen here."
Rangers' Molina dealing with sore elbow
Catcher Bengie Molina admitted that he has been dealing with a painfully sore left elbow since early May. Molina, who was hit by a foul tip there, continues to play regularly and insisted the elbow is "not an excuse," but there is no doubt that it has affected his offense. He is hitting .238 with five home runs and 38 RBIs on the season.But the Rangers still like what they are getting from him. "He brings a calmness to the clubhouse," Washington said. "He's doing a good job with the pitchers, helping them follow the game plan and get through the game. He brings presence." Pitcher Frank Francisco (strained rib cage muscle) is planning to start playing catch in the outfield on Monday. He has been sidelined since Aug. 28, and this is the initial step in his throwing program that he hopes will allow him to be ready for the playoffs. The Rangers are unsure if that will indeed be the case. "I don't know, maybe," Francisco said. "I'm just taking it one day at a time."
Lee enjoys pitching against Mariners
Cliff Lee's 6-1 victory over the Mariners was his fifth straight over them going back to the beginning of the 2008 season. He has a 2.03 ERA, one walk and has 25 strikeouts in that span.He is the first pitcher to win five straight starts against a team with the combination of only one walk and at least 25 strikeouts since Luis Tiant for the Red Sox against Oakland in 1976-78. Lee, who was acquired from the Mariners on July 9, has 53 strikeouts and two walks in 551/3 innings over seven starts at Safeco Field this season. The Rangers, going into Sunday's game, had a 1.89 ERA against the Mariners in the first 15 games this season. That would be the fourth lowest ERA against an opponent in club history. They had a 1.27 ERA against the Indians in 1978, a 1.85 ERA against the Mariners in 1983 and a 1.88 ERA against the Orioles in 1972.
Jorge Cantu has begun his Rangers career by going 75 at-bats without an RBI. The longest such streak after joining the Rangers was by Juan Beniquez. He went 76 at-bats without an RBI after joining the Rangers at the beginning of the 1976 season. ...Lee's start marked the 18th time a Rangers pitcher went at least eight innings. That's the most since they did so 34 times in 1998.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.