ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington decided not to move Justin Smoak into the leadoff spot on Sunday, one day after his first baseman stole the first base of his professional career."We don't want him hurting himself trying to steal bags," Washington joked, "We don't want him to pull a muscle." Smoak stole a base in the second inning of the Rangers' 3-2 victory over the Royals. He might have benefited from catcher Jason Kendall fumbling the pitch and not being able to get off a throw. "They gave me the hit-and-run sign," Smoak said. "I had to look at [first base coach] Gary Pettis to make sure I was going. He said, 'Yeah, go.' I took off and got lucky he bobbled it." It was the first stolen base of Smoak's professional career. Also his first official attempt. He was 2-for-6 during his three years at the University of South Carolina.
Cruz gets another day before starting rehab
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have decided to wait one day before outfielder Nelson Cruz goes on medical rehabilitation assignment.Cruz has been sidelined since April 27 with a strained right hamstring muscle and tested it with extensive running on the basepaths before Sunday's game against the Royals. The Rangers decided to have Cruz undergo treatment on Monday at the Ballpark and Arlington and then join Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. The Rangers want Cruz to play two games at Oklahoma City on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Rangers could activate him on Thursday for the day game against the Athletics or they may wait until Friday when they open a three-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto. Cruz was hitting .323 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs in 19 games before going down with an injury.
Holland ready to rejoin rotation
ARLINGTON -- Derek Holland will rejoin the Rangers' rotation on Wednesday and pitch against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark.Holland will replace Matt Harrison, who is going on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left biceps tendon. Holland was 4-1 with a 0.93 ERA in six starts for Oklahoma City. "I've been getting back to using my four-seam fastball a lot both in-and-out and using my breaking ball and changeup," Holland said. "That was the main thing: to work on my offspeed stuff." The offspeed stuff is what deserted Holland last season when he went 1-6 with a 10.19 ERA in his final seven starts down the stretch. He was trying to throw both a curve and a slider. The Rangers wanted him to choose one and get back to being more effective with his changeup. He has been throwing the slider much more, while not completely abandoning the curve. "It was just inconsistent," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He was known for having a great changeup but he lost his feel for it. Supposedly he got it back." Harrison, who threw 127 pitches in a start against the Mariners on May 1, came down with tendinitis in his last start on Thursday against the Royals. He hasn't thrown since then and he could end up in the bullpen once he returns. Much will depend on how Holland is doing during his absence but it's tough to get hurt and keep a spot in the Rangers' rotation. Both Holland (sprained knee) and Tommy Hunter (strained oblique muscle) got hurt in Spring Training and lost their spots. Hunter is still pitching in Triple A and now Harrison has to wait to see what will happen to him. If Holland pitches well, he's not going to lose that spot in the rotation. "I'm trying to do my best to keep it that way," Holland said. "That's how it always is. If you get the opportunity, you better take advantage of it."
Starters get some extra time off
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers decided to give some starters an extra day of rest by inserting Holland into the rotation on Wednesday.With the Rangers off on Monday, that means C.J. Wilson, Rich Harden and Scott Feldman will start next week on five days' rest rather than their normal four. Pitching Holland on Wednesday means the Rangers will be using their left-handers in back-to-back games. Wilson is scheduled to pitch Thursday against the Athletics. The Rangers started the season by splitting Wilson and Harrison in the rotation but Washington doesn't mind this arrangement. "They're both pretty good pitchers," Washington said. This also allows Holland and Wilson to pitch against both Oakland and the Angels in their two-game series that starts Monday at Rangers Ballpark. Washington said he likes the idea of using left-handers against both teams.
Ramirez subs for Treanor
ARLINGTON -- Matt Treanor, in a 3-for-26 skid that has dropped his batting average to .200, was off on Sunday with Max Ramirez catching for the Rangers. Treanor had started 14 of his last 20 games for the Rangers.The Rangers had also won 10 of their last 11 games with Treanor behind the plate and his 3.71 catcher's ERA is the fourth best in the American League. "That says he's pretty good," manager Ron Washington said. "He has a feel for the game, he follows the game plan and is also able to keep pitchers focused on what they have to do. When a pitcher gets out of whack, he brings them back into the game quickly." Treanor, 34, is on pace to play in 100 games and finish with at least 300 at-bats. His career highs as a backup with the Marlins were 67 games and 206 at-bats. The Rangers will monitor him carefully because Treanor has never played with such frequency but he's still their No. 1 catcher. "Until we can see that affecting him, that's what we're going to do," Washington said. "He's strong mentally and physically and he's doing everything he can to punch the clock."
The Rangers have won four of their last five games when scoring three or fewer runs. They lost their first six and are 4-7 when scoring three or fewer runs. ... The Rangers were 10-55 in such games in 2009. ... Elvis Andrus has a nine-game hitting streak and he is second in the American League with a .474 batting average with runners in scoring position. His .413 on-base percentage is also the highest among any Major League shortstop. He is fifth with 19 runs scored and first with 13 stolen bases.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.