05/29/11 8:45 PM ET
Cruz finally finds his hitting groove
By Louie Horvath / MLB.com
It looked like Cruz was back in a rut on Sunday, going 0-for-3, until he hit a leadoff home run in the ninth off Royals closer Joakim Soria in an eventual 7-6 walk-off victory."The home run was on a slider down and in," Soria said. "He hit the ball well. They're Major League hitters, good hitters. I don't know what to say." Even though Cruz was mired in the slump -- including an 0-for-7 in Friday's 14-inning loss -- he did not want to change his approach. "I think my timing was off," Cruz said on Saturday. "When you get the timing on, then you can see better pitches, and recognize them sooner." After hitting the single and double, Cruz announced his full arrival with a two-run home run in the sixth off Kansas City starter Sean O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan threw a good pitch, but Cruz hammered it over the left-field wall. "It was a good pitch. It was low-and-in," Cruz said. "When your approach is good, you feel like you can hit any pitch, so that's what happened [Saturday] night." Cruz said that a first inning pop-out alerted him that something was wrong, and he needed to be faster to the ball. Rangers manager Ron Washington felt it could have come a little sooner. "One at-bat should trigger something," Washington said. "It just took him 15 at-bats to trigger it. You would hope the first one you take that isn't right it triggers, but it took 15. He should get better from each at-bat. So, I'm glad he's triggered. I just hope he's still triggered."
Webb excited to show his stuff in Double-A
ARLINGTON -- Rangers right-hander Brandon Webb will resume the rehabilitation of his right shoulder on Monday, starting for the Double-A Frisco Rough Riders.Webb, who started at extended spring training on Tuesday, is expecting some jitters out on the mound, his first real game action. "It's exciting to get out there and see what I can do," Webb said. "I haven't had this type of competition in a game situation in a couple years, so it will be a big step if it goes well." Webb went six innings in extended spring training, allowing four runs -- one earned -- and six hits against the Padres squad. Rangers manager Ron Washington expects Frisco to be a tougher assignment for Webb than extended spring training. "I think he'll have a better challenge than what he got down in Rookie ball," Washington said. "Maybe that's what he needs. He's got the ball as long as the manager feels he's effective." Webb, for his part, felt encouraged by the extended spring training start, where he was able to throw his fastball 84 to 86 mph. "I felt comfortable in between innings and all that," Webb said. "I had no problems out in Arizona getting up and down and throwing that many pitches, so I don't expect that to be a problem here." Webb has said he feels like his offspeed pitches are rounding into form, just in time to face professional competition -- but he is still a ways away from being ready to pitch in the Majors. "I don't think I'm ready to go in the big leagues, no," Webb said. "I think my stuff has gotten better since I was out there in Arizona, offspeed stuff, location-wise it's getting better. I think getting into a real game will zone me in and probably make me a little bit better than I was out there." There seems to be some internal debate, as both Washington and Webb said he would not have a specific pitch count, but a club spokesman said the start in Frisco would be limited to 60-75 pitches. Webb himself estimated that he would pitch three to five innings. "He's going to go until he can't go anymore," Washington said. "He's ready to go over 100 pitches. So, he'll go until the manager has decided he's seen enough."
Kinsler ejected after arguing strike call
ARLINGTON -- Ian Kinsler was ejected after striking out to end the fifth inning in Sunday's 7-6 win over the Royals in the series finale.With the Rangers trailing, 5-3, Kinsler appeared to check his swing on a ball in the dirt. Instead of checking with the first-base umpire and crew chief Jeff Nelson, home-plate umpire Mike Estabrook ruled that Kinsler swung, as Royals catcher Brayan Pena tagged Kinsler for the third out.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus, who initially had the day off, took Kinsler's place in the lineup, while Andres Blanco moved over from short to second.
Andrus proceeded to go 1-for-2 with the walk-off single in the ninth when Mike Napoli scored from first by avoiding Royals catcher Brayan Pena's tag on an impromptu hit-and-run play.After exchanging words with Estabrook, Kinsler appeared to be walking away when he forcibly flipped his bat to the ground and spiked his helmet before turning back to shout at Estabrook. When Kinsler finished, he turned to take a shin guard off. At that moment Estabrook ejected Kinsler, but the Rangers second baseman did not see it. He proceeded to walk towards his customary position at second base, until he was told by Nelson that he had been ejected from the game. At that point, Kinsler shouted a few more things at Estabrook and threw his batting gloves into the stands while exiting.
Kinsler, who went 1-for-3 including a solo homer in the third inning, did not speak with the media following the game.
Borbon scheduled for rehab assignments
ARLINGTON -- Julio Borbon completed a light running regimen before Sunday's series finale against the Royals, and he will begin his rehabilitation start in Frisco on Monday.Before the training session, Borbon said he was sore from Saturday's workout, but not because of the thigh injury that put him on the disabled list. Borbon will be a designated hitter for Double-A Frisco on Monday, and then will continue his rehabilitation in Triple-A Round Rock when Frisco travels on Tuesday. "He's gone the whole week," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We won't see Borbon back until we get back from the [upcoming seven-game] road trip." That would put Borbon on the active roster in time for the June 6-8 home dates against the Detroit Tigers.
Tateyama having a ball being in big leagues
ARLINGTON -- Yoshinori Tateyama is assembling quite the Major League Baseball game ball collection.After pitching three innings to close out Saturday's 10-1 win over the Royals, he added another landmark ball, for his first Major League save. "I was getting a bunch of balls from the other day for my Major League debut, but I'm going to try not to mix it up," Tateyama said through a translator. Tateyama currently has seven balls in a plastic bag marking one occasion or another since he came to the Majors after 12 seasons pitching in Japan's highest level. "The balls from the first pitch in the Major Leagues and the first save, I'm going to take care of them," Tateyama said. Although not many milestones appear within the near future for Tateyama, Rangers manager Ron Washington sees a useful reliever in his midst -- when he can see him, of course. "I looked out there [Saturday] and he looked like a gnat to me," Washington said.
Despite his small stature, Tateyama has pitched well since being called up, holding opposing hitters to a .167 average (4-for-20) with no walks and three strikeouts."He's effective at keeping the ball down," Washington said. "He is using all his pitches and not making very many mistakes in the strike zone."
Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.