7/7/2013 4:47 P.M. ET
Cruz won't reprise Home Run Derby role
By Master Tesfatsion / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers All-Star outfielder Nelson Cruz doesn't have plans to compete in the Home Run Derby. Cruz said he hasn't been asked to participate in the event in which he was a runner-up in 2009, but he'd graciously decline if American League captain Robinson Cano asked.
"It's important that we start the second half strong," Cruz said. "I just got to stay back and help."
He's fifth in the AL with 22 home runs and 14.4 at-bats per home run entering Sunday's game. Cruz finished second in the 2009 Derby behind Prince Fielder in St. Louis. The Rangers weren't in playoff contention at the time, and their playoff hunt this year is the main reason he won't compete in the event.
"What we need right now is more important than the Derby," Cruz said. "I would love to go, but I think this time and last time is way different."
Rangers manager Ron Washington said this week he was against players hitting in the Home Run Derby because it messes with their swing. He said it wasn't natural to swing for the fences, but he couldn't stop someone like Cruz from competing in the event.
"I don't think my swing is that good to mess it up more than it already is," Nelson said.
Rangers place Berkman and Tepesch on DL
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers sent Nick Tepesch and Lance Berkman to the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation and left hip inflammation, respectively, reinstated Joakim Soria from the 60-day DL and recalled Cory Burns from Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday.
Tepesch felt soreness in his elbow during his bullpen session Saturday. Rangers manager Ron Washington said the move was precautionary and the issue was not serious. He plans to use either Ross Wolf or Josh Lindblom to replace Tepesch in the rotation Wednesday against the Orioles.
"Any time anything like this happens, you don't want something like this to happen," Tepesch said. "I'm just going to work hard to get this better."
The Rangers now have four starting pitchers on the disabled list. They've talked to the Cubs about acquiring right-handed pitcher Matt Garza, someone the club had interest in previously. The Rangers are also interested in Brewers right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
Berkman injured his hip Saturday when he reached first safely on a ground ball. He said he strained the hip more in the sixth on Geovany Soto's three-run home run.
"When I went up there the next time left-handed, I could feel it but it wasn't as bad," the switch-hitting Berkman said. "In that at-bat [Soto] hit that home run, I thought it was a double at the time, so I took off. When I did, it grabbed even worse.
"It was hard for me to make it around the bases on that home run, which thankfully went out of the ballpark."
Berkman left the game in the seventh and said the injury felt terrible overnight. Berkman missed four games to start the nine-game homestand with a sore right knee. The injury occurred when he slipped on the stairs exiting the team plane on June 27.
"It gives him a chance to catch up with his knees, and his knees causing other things to flare up and put a Band-Aid on this and a Band-Aid on that," Washington said. "We just felt we needed to give him some time, so he can be productive for us."
The Rangers plan to use a three-man bench until the All-Star break. The club signed outfielder Manny Ramirez to a Minor League deal Wednesday, and he'll make his first start with Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday. While Washington didn't mention Ramirez, he plans to fill the designated-hitter position by committee to rest some starters defensively. Washington mainly wants to protect his pitchers with the additions of Soria and Burns. Soria hasn't pitched in a Major League game since September 11, 2011. He had Tommy John surgery on April 3, 2012.
"I'm going to enjoy it," Soria said about his return to the Majors. "I love this game, and I love to do this. I don't think there will be any nerves because I've been expecting this for a while. I'm just happy to be back."
Burns will make his second stint with the Rangers this season. He had a wart removed from his finger and sat out for nearly three weeks. He has made three appearances with Triple-A Round Rock in his return, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Burns is 0-1 with a 1.05 ERA in 26 relief appearances for Round Rock.
"I came back off that nice and healthy," Burns said. "I've been activated for about a week and a half now so it feels good."
Wash wants Darvish to be himself
ARLINGTON -- When asked what he would do if he made an appearance in the All-Star Game, Yu Darvish said, "I'm going to throw all sliders."
While he was joking about the situation, his pitch selection has been a hot topic this season. Darvish said he silenced his critics by using the fastball against the Reds. During his outing Saturday against the Astros, he allowed five runs in six-plus innings.
"I should've been a little bit more aggressive," Darvish said through an interpreter after the game. "Not just this outing, but also the last outing I think I threw too many fastballs. I think I'm a breaking-ball pitcher, and I think I should've thrown more breaking balls."
Rangers manager Ron Washington said he shares whatever assessment Darvish had of his outing.
"I just want him to be who he is," Washington said. "When he is who he is, he's very effective."
Washington said Darvish didn't mix his pitches well Saturday in attempt to prove his critics wrong again with his fastball.
"Whatever he think he needs to mix, mix it Darvish," Washington said. "I'm good with it. If that's 10 percent of fastballs, it's 10 percent of fastballs. Whatever that is effective, I'm on board with Darvish."
Gentry hopes to return to start second half
ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Craig Gentry, on the 15-day disabled list with a non-displaced fracture in his left hand, hopes to return to the team after the All-Star break. He wants to take batting practice sometime during the Orioles series.
"I definitely plan to try and hit within the next week," Gentry said.
Gentry said he still deals with some lingering issues in his left hand. Gentry, who became eligible to return Sunday, was placed on the DL after he was hit by a pitch against the A's on June 18.
He is hitting .216 with one home run and nine RBIs this season.
• The Rangers and D-backs will make up their game postponed May 29 game on Aug. 1 at 6:05 p.m. CT. The Rangers will play 20 straight games after the All-Star break. Fans who had tickets to the game on May 29 can use them for the makeup game.
• If the Tigers don't alter their rotation, the Rangers will face right-handers Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander during their three-game series that starts on Friday at Comerica Park.
• Mitch Moreland received the day off Sunday. Robinson Chirinos started at first base. Adrian Beltre started at designated hitter with Jurickson Profar at third.
Master Tesfatsionis an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.