SEATTLE -- Rangers right-hander Scott Feldman pitched four scoreless innings in an extended spring training game against the Mariners on Tuesday in Arizona. Feldman allowed two hits, struck out four and threw 54 pitches.Feldman could be getting close to pitching for a Minor League team on medical rehabilitation assignment. He has been sidelined since undergoing surgery on his right knee in November. Tommy Hunter (strained right groin muscle) is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment on Wednesday by pitching three to four innings for Double-A Frisco. Neftali Feliz (right shoulder inflammation) is expected to start that game. Brandon Webb (shoulder surgery) remains in Arizona along with Feldman and is scheduled to pitch in an extended spring training game on Thursday.
Cruz slowed by tight right quad muscle
SEATTLE -- Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz could miss at least a couple of games because of a tight right quad muscle.The injury forced Cruz out of Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Mariners after six innings. It doesn't look like a disabled list injury at this point, but Cruz is not expected to play on Wednesday against the Mariners. "It feels better," Cruz said after the game. "When I first came out, I couldn't do much because it was tight. But it's better." Cruz said he felt the muscle tighten on a fourth-inning ground ball to third baseman Chone Figgins. He was barely thrown out at first base and the muscle continued to bother him while he was playing the outfield. The game-time temperature was 53 degrees. Cruz went on the DL three times last season because of hamstring injuries but said this doesn't compared to those problems. "It was kind of cold and I couldn't get loose," Cruz said. "I feel good right now. We'll see tomorrow. Hopefully I'll just need one day off."
Rangers looking to turn tide in Seattle
SEATTLE -- Rangers manager Ron Washington dropped in on both his hitters' and pitchers' advance meetings on Tuesday afternoon.Both groups meet before the first game of every series. Washington doesn't always attend but does when he has something to say. He did on Tuesday. "We all had a message to send to each other," Washington said. "It was just not me talking." Washington declined to divulge details, but the Rangers went into Seattle having lost 12 of their last 19 games after a 9-1 start. The offense has run hot and cold, the pitching staff has cooled off after a hot start and the defense just hasn't been good lately. The Rangers have committed 18 errors in their past 13 games after just eight in their first 16 games. They rank last in team defense in the American League. "We're certainly out of character about how we're playing defense," Washington said. "It's something we've addressed and we're ready to put it back together. We're certainly good enough to play as well as anybody, now we've got to go out and do it." Being last in defense is not what the Rangers expected this offseason after acquiring Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre. "If we were [last in defense] in July or August, I'd be mad," Washington said. "But you can put six, -seven games together where we are flawless and be right back in the middle of the pack." The Rangers are still tied with the Indians for the most runs scored in the AL. But the Rangers have lost six of their last eight games and scored four or fewer runs in each of those losses. "Offensively, we're fine," Washington said. "We're in a little rut right now, but even though we're in a rut, in those last six [losses], one swing of the bat could have turned it around." The Rangers have dropped to eighth in the league in pitching. They have a 5.32 ERA in their last 13 games, raising their team ERA from 2.83 to 3.95. "My pitching is what it is," Washington said. "As long as they're healthy, they're only human, too. They are going to have bad days like everybody else. But as long as they have more good ones than bad ones, we can live with it."
Andrus gets a day off
SEATTLE -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus was out of the lineup on Tuesday as Andres Blanco started for the fourth time this season. The day off comes with Andrus hitting .381 (8-for-21) in his last five games as well as having an eight-game hitting streak.But he also has six errors in his last 11 games after committing only one in his first 15 games. "A couple of those errors were made with throws because my footwork was bad," Andrus said. "I need to emphasize footwork because when my footwork is good, I'm fine." Manager Ron Washington said some of the errors might be from fatigue and his goal this season is to get Andrus more days off to keep him strong all season. "I'm ready to play every day, but if I get a day off, I will take it," Andrus said. "We talked last year about how tired I got the last two months. You get tired mentally and physically. He wants me to be 100 percent mentally and physically." The Rangers, going into Tuesday, were 3-0 in games started by Blanco at shortstop.
Young delivering with RISP
SEATTLE -- Rangers infielder Michael Young went into the Seattle series hitting .556 with runners in scoring position. That was second in the Majors behind Brian McCann of the Braves, who is hitting .579 with RISP.Young has 23 RBIs and 19 have come with runners at either second or third. That is tied for the second in the Majors behind Ryan Howard, who has 23. The Rangers' record for highest batting average in a season with runners in scoring position is held by Ian Kinsler, who hit .413 in those situations in 2006. Young hit .412 with runners in scoring position in '06. He currently has four of the top 10 RISP averages for a season in Rangers history. He hit .376 in '07 and .368 in '05. "I really don't change my approach in those situations," Young said. "Just get a good pitch to hit and stay focused on the strike zone." The highest in a full season since 1974 was by George Brett. The Royals' Hall of Fame third baseman hit .469 with runners in scoring position in '80. Young has a career batting average of .325 with runners in scoring position. That's the 12th best among Major League hitters since '74. Tony Gwynn's .350 average is the highest. Among active players, Albert Pujols leads with a .345 RISP average. "I've always wanted those at-bats," Young said. "I won't say it's pride ... the only pride I take is helping the team win. But if I can push some runs across, it makes me feel good I did my job."
Wednesday's game with the Mariners is on KSKY 660 AM because of the Mavericks' playoff game with the Lakers. The Rangers have sold out their weekend series against the Yankees at the Ballpark in Arlington. Only standing-room and obstructed-view seats remain for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Triple-A Round Rock announced Tuesday a television package for the 2011 season that allows the broadcast of 19 games throughout Central Texas. Beginning this weekend, Friday home games will be broadcast on YNN Sports (Time Warner Digital Cable channel 408 / HD 1509), while Saturday home games will be broadcast on KBVO (Time Warner Digital Cable channel 1525).
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.