05/26/12 10:06 PM ET
Wash won't use position players on mound
By Christian Corona / MLB.com
He was the only pitcher that did not allow a run in the Rangers' 14-3 series-opening win on Friday night. Brandon Morrow allowed six runs in just two-thirds of an inning -- his shortest career start -- before Carlos Villanueva and Ryota Igarashi each surrendered a pair of runs. Then, Nelson Cruz hit a grand slam in the seventh off Jason Frasor before Mathis, who normally plays catcher, came in to pitch.
"The weirdest part was running in from the bullpen, just coming in from a different angle," Mathis said. "We're always running from the dugout, so running in from the outfield was kind of weird."
"I told [bench coach] Jackie [Moore] on the bench, 'I can go up there right now and get a knock off him,'" manager Ron Washington said. "The worst thing you want is for a player to get you out. No way. All I was yelling was, 'Pad your stats! Pad your stats!'"
After Mitch Moreland doubled to lead off the eighth inning, Ian Kinsler popped out to shortstop and Elvis Andrus drew a four-pitch walk, his third of the game. Craig Gentry and Alberto Gonzalez both flied out to left to end the inning. Despite Mathis' effort on the mound, Washington said he wouldn't use a position player as a pitcher.
"I couldn't ever do that," Washington said. "This game is about pitchers. They put themselves in that position, they can get themselves out. It might sound harsh, but that's the way it is."
Napoli doesn't start; Hamilton feels better
ARLINGTON -- An upset stomach kept Mike Napoli out of the starting lineup against the Blue Jays for the second straight game, but he made an extra-inning appearance on Saturday.
Napoli entered Saturday's game as a pinch-hitter for Mitch Moreland in the 10th inning of the Rangers' 8-7, 13-inning win. He went 0-for-2, striking out and flying out to right to end the 10th and 12th innings.
Napoli said he feels much better and that he doesn't believe he's contagious. He hopes to be back in the lineup Sunday. Napoli was listed in the original lineup on Friday before he was scratched and replaced by Yorvit Torrealba, who went 2-for-5 with a home run.
"I still feel a little nauseated," said Napoli. "But I feel a lot better. I don't feel as sick. I've got some fluids in me."
Napoli wasn't the only one under the weather Friday. Josh Hamilton left Friday's 14-3 win over the Blue Jays with a head cold in the seventh inning.
Like Napoli, Hamilton said that he felt better than he did Friday and started again Saturday, batting third and playing center field. He added his Major League-leading 20th homer on a two-run walk-off blast in the 13th inning Saturday.
"I don't know if you noticed, but he was very slow at the plate tonight," said manager Ron Washington on Friday. "He calmed down tonight, because he wasn't really feeling good. But he battled."
Hamilton left the ballpark before the game ended, going to bed before midnight, but he said he couldn't fall asleep until about 2:45 a.m. Saturday morning.
"You're better when you rest, obviously, than when you're running around and getting hot and sweaty," Hamilton said. "It always helps when you're sick, because you don't feel like trying to do too much. It slows everything down and helps your pitch recognition."
Washington also said Derek Holland felt sick Friday. Holland picked up his fourth win of the year, allowing five hits and one run over 7 1/3 innings, striking out nine and walking one.
Darvish getting ready for summer heat
ARLINGTON -- Yu Darvish is scheduled to pitch on Sunday against the Blue Jays in what may be his hottest start of the year.
Darvish is 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA in nine starts this season, only two of which have seen game-time temperatures higher than 75 degrees. The last time Darvish pitched against the Blue Jays was in a 4-1 win on April 30 in Toronto's indoor stadium. He gave up four hits and one run in seven innings to improve to 4-0 on the year. But it will be much hotter in Arlington this weekend than it was in Toronto.
"I haven't experienced that yet," Darvish said. "As it comes and goes, I'll make the necessary adjustments as we go. There's no difference. I'm still pitching in those games normally."
With temperatures expected to rise over the next few months, Washington said on Friday that he would consider adjusting the structure of batting practice. Shorter rounds and not doing batting practice at all were a couple of options he mentioned. Other than that, Washington doesn't want his team to think about the heat.
"We don't discuss heat around here. It becomes too psychological when you start thinking about the weather," Washington said. "We got all kinds of fluids down there. We make sure, when it's like this, every time they come off the field, there's people on the steps just feeding them liquids. Whatever they need, we supply."
Cruz effective going the opposite way
ARLINGTON -- In the Rangers' previous three games before this week's series against the Blue Jays, they had scored seven runs. Nelson Cruz drove in eight on Friday night.
In two at-bats with the bases loaded, Cruz hit a bases-clearing double in the first inning and a grand slam in the seventh. Both of those hits were to the opposite field, with the double going to right-center field and the home run going over the right-field wall. With the bases loaded, Cruz is 5-for-8 with 16 RBIs this season.
"That's when he's at his best," Washington said. "We needed everything he gave us."
Cruz has two grand slams this month, with the first coming off the Angels' Jered Weaver on May 13. He tied a career high with eight RBIs on Friday and became the first player in team history to record multiple eight-RBI games in his career. Cruz drove in eight runs last July, also against the Blue Jays at home, becoming just the fourth player in baseball history to have eight RBIs in more than one game against the same opponent.
"That's my approach," said Cruz of his mindset to drive the ball to right field. "Most of the pitches I see are that way."
Adrian Beltre's error during Alex Liddi's fifth-inning at-bat in Tuesday's win over the Mariners was changed to a single. Beltre, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, has committed three errors and boasts a .957 fielding percentage this year.
Scott Feldman threw live batting practice before Saturday's game against the Blue Jays. He made two spot starts before moving to the rotation upon Neftali Feliz being placed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation on Monday.
Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.