05/14/12 8:29 PM ET
Cruz finding his groove at the plate
By Christian Corona / MLB.com
Since May 7, Cruz has just as many hits (14) and has reached base just as many times (18) as Hamilton, entering Monday. He hit his third career grand slam in a 13-6 win over the Angels on Sunday night and tied a career high with four hits, falling a triple shy of the cycle. Cruz became the ninth player in Rangers history to record four hits, including a grand slam, in a game.
"I can tell the last few weeks that I've felt good at the plate," Cruz said. "I'm just driving the ball the other way, waiting for the right pitch, and trying to be patient."
Manager Ron Washington hinted before Sunday's game that Cruz was due to have an off-day sometime soon. Even after hitting his first grand slam since his walk-off shot in Game 2 of last year's ALCS against Detroit, Washington still says that Cruz will get a day off, likely before the Rangers travel to begin a three-game series in Houston on Friday.
"It doesn't matter," Washington said. "We're going to get him a day. I don't know which one, but he's going to get one. He needs a mental break."
Cruz is batting .500 with four doubles and seven RBIs in his last seven games.
New bat in hand, Hamilton aims to stay hot
ARLINGTON -- After Josh Hamilton hit .467 with nine home runs and 18 RBIs over his last seven games, it came as little surprise that he was named AL Player of the Week on Monday.
"I think he won that four days ago," Ian Kinsler said.
But Ron Washington, who remembered how long Hamilton stayed hot during his 2010 MVP campaign, wants him to keep it up for a lot longer.
"When he won MVP, he had a three-month run," Washington said. "I hope he has a three-month run again. He's such a quality player, and when he gets locked in, it's poetry in motion. And right now, he's locked in."
"It's good to have your manager expect a lot out of you," said Hamilton. "It makes you better as a player. "If he was content with me just showing up and going through the motions, the respect we have for each other probably wouldn't be at the level that it is. It's good to hear because I expect the same thing. We're on the same page."
The bat that Hamilton used to hit all but one of the nine home runs he had last week has been sent to the Hall of Fame. It cracked in his final at-bat Sunday night. After using a pink bat in honor of Mother's Day and breast-cancer awareness in his first four trips to the plate, Hamilton looked for a bat with a thinner handle, and his old bat was the only one he could find.
"I probably could have taped it up and kept using it, but she died a hero," Hamilton said. "The crack was near my hand and it was just a hairline crack."
Hamilton became the 16th player to hit four home runs in a game when he accomplished the feat Tuesday in Baltimore and extended his hit streak to 13 games, the second-longest of his career. With 16 games remaining this month, he is just one shy of the team record for most home runs in May.
Kinsler, Napoli out of Rangers' starting lineup
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers faced a left-handed starting pitcher in the Royals' Bruce Chen on Monday night, but Ron Washington opted to give right-handed regulars Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli a day off.
"They need it," Washington said. "Kinsler needs it. He's been grinding for quite a while. Napoli, over the weekend, has taken a beating. We still have some big right-handed bats in the lineup, so we're fine."
Alberto Gonzalez filled in for Kinsler at second base and batted eighth, while Yorvit Torrealba was at catcher. Kinsler, who has three hits in four career at-bats against Chen, went 2-for-4 in Sunday night's 13-6 win over the Angels with two doubles and two runs scored.
"You don't ever need a day off, unless you're hurt," Kinsler said. "But we have the luxury to be able to do it. Our team is very deep, so we're able to provide players with days off and a little bit of rest. Hopefully, that helps in the long run."
Napoli has been behind the plate for almost all of the last four games, with the exception of the first inning of Friday's game, when Torrealba exited with a head contusion after being hit with Albert Pujols' bat on his backswing.
Bench coach Moore returns after hospital stay
ARLINGTON -- During the sixth inning of the Rangers' 13-6 win over the Angels on Sunday night, bench coach Jackie Moore felt lightheaded and was transported to the Medical Center of Arlington after the game as a precautionary measure.
Moore, who experienced dehydration and fatigue Sunday, is back for Monday's game against the Royals and said he feels good.
"It's hard to keep a good man down," Moore said. "Any time you get a little woozy and a little nauseous, it's a little scary. But I'm ready to go."
Moore went through a series of tests and was held overnight at the hospital before being released early Monday afternoon. Manager Ron Washington was glad to have Moore, who has been the Rangers' bench coach since 2008, back in the dugout with him.
"Jackie's not a spring chicken," Washington said. "He wasn't taking in enough fluids. He's got a box of them in his locker with a big sign on it: If you're dehydrated, it's too late."
Kinsler makes donation to Make-A-Wish
ARLINGTON -- Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler and his wife, Tess, presented the Make-A-Wish North Texas Foundation with a $7,500 donation Monday afternoon.
The charity has been granting the wishes of children with life-threatening conditions for 30 years, and to celebrate the milestone, Make-A-Wish North Texas president and CEO Scott Landry presented Kinsler with a collage of photographs showing children that have been granted wishes over the past three decades. Kinsler participated in a Make-A-Wish public service announcement that was unveiled Monday.
"It's an unbelievable foundation," Kinsler said. "Making this commercial and meeting Sam put that over the top. We just felt like this was a great foundation and something that we wanted to be a part of. Hopefully, it helps other people want to do the same."
In May 2010, Sam, 8, had his wish come true when he witnessed a Space Shuttle launch and was involved with the production of the PSA. He threw out the first pitch to Kinsler before Monday night's game against the Royals. When asked by Kinsler if he would throw him a curveball, Sam said he would stick with the pitch he knows best.
"Just a fastball," Sam said. "I'd advise wearing a helmet, though."
Arlington Mayor Pro Tem Kathryn Wilemon read a proclamation Monday, declaring May 14, 2012, as Make-A-Wish Foundation Day.
"Children are our greatest and our most precious resource, and it is our responsibility as a society to cherish, nurture and help each child reach their full potential," said Wilemon, reading from the proclamation.
With a 13-6 win over the Angels on Sunday, the Rangers improved to 23-12 on the season, marking their best 35-game start in team history.
Neftali Feliz became the first pitcher to win Rookie of the Year as a reliever and later beat a pitcher that threw a no-hitter when he took down Jered Weaver on Sunday.
Double-A Frisco shortstop Jurickson Profar singled in his first at-bat Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 23 games. He is batting .316 with 14 RBIs during the streak.
Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.