Davis out to prove he's a big league hitter
Infielder has posted big offensive numbers in Minors
ARLINGTON -- Chris Davis has more than proved he can succeed at Triple-A, but due to Adrian Beltre landing on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain, he has an opportunity to prove that he belongs in the big leagues.Davis is in his third stint in Texas this season, and his first two were unspectacular. He hit three home runs and drove in four in 52 at-bats. What has stood out is Davis' mastery of Triple-A pitching. He hit 24 home runs in 48 games at Triple-A Round Rock, averaging a home run every 8.04 at-bats. He is just seven home runs short of the Round Rock season record held by Luke Scott, despite playing in just under half of its games this year. His performance landed him in quite a few trade rumors, as teams with more opportunities for playing time may have been intrigued by Davis' .824 Triple-A slugging percentage. "I didn't know," Davis said. "Obviously, the last couple weeks there's been a lot of speculation about what we're going to do, try to get a bullpen piece, and I didn't know. I knew for the time being I was down in Round Rock and we were playing really well down there. You never know what's going to happen during the course of a season." Davis said regular playing time did wonders for him mentally, in terms of limiting the pressure he put on himself to perform. "I think its huge. Obviously, when you're in the Minor Leagues and you're playing every day, there's a certain mindframe that you go into, going in knowing your name is going to be in the lineup," Davis said. "Earlier this year, when I was called up and coming off the bench, it was a little bit different for me." Rangers manager Ron Washington said he is confident that Davis can contribute on the big league ballclub. "I know what Chris can do, so he doesn't have to do anything with my confidence," Washington said. "It's his confidence that he should be concerned about. Because Ron Washington shows up every day confident." The more Davis' Round Rock numbers ballooned, the harder it was for him to reconcile his performance with the fact that he was still in Triple-A. "It's been a miracle, to be honest with you," Davis said. "It's been a really, really crazy year, and it's really only halfway over. It is part of the job. I never thought growing up that I'd be going back and forth like this, but this is an opportunity for me to make my mark." With Beltre's injury, he gets a chance to show the Rangers and the rest of the big leagues that he is more than just a great hitter of Triple-A pitching. "That's kind of on the back burner right now," Davis said. "Obviously, my focus is to help the team win as much as I can. Right now, I'm a Texas Ranger, and we're trying to win the AL West. That's where my head's at, and that's where it's going to stay."
Feldman has successful return from disabled list
ARLINGTON -- Scott Feldman took the final step in his recovery from microfracture surgery on his right knee on Friday when he pitched for the Rangers for the first time since he was activated from the 60-day disabled list on July 14."Everything felt pretty good," Feldman said. "My knee felt good, my arm was nice and rested, so everything felt good." Feldman struck out one as he tossed a scoreless ninth inning. He impressed Rangers manager Ron Washington with his performance. "He had good sink, good life and he threw strikes," Washington said. "To [have not] pitched in that many days, you would be looking for him to be erratic, but he wasn't. That just goes to show you that they've been working. He came in and he pounded the strike zone." Feldman, a converted starter, had not pitched in the week since returning before being put in the game on Friday. "You've got to stay ready. The way the starters have been pitching, we haven't really been needed out there, which is a good thing. I hope that they keep pitching well, and we're just going to try to stay sharp out there as well as we can." Feldman said it's important to look at veteran relievers to learn how best to adjust to pitching out of the bullpen. "It's a lot different," Feldman said. "You've got to watch what [Darren] Oliver does, Arthur Rhodes -- they've been doing it for a long time. It's a lot different than starting, because you have to get your own little routine going."
Washington wants Cruz balanced at plate
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said for Nelson Cruz to stay hot after his eight-RBI performance on Friday, he has to make sure his body stays balanced.Washington said sometimes Cruz becomes focused too much on pulling the ball, and that is when he goes into prolonged slumps, like the ones he's battled through this season. "All it is is putting you in position where you're always where you should be, no matter where the ball is," Washington said. "Instead of having to always hit it to one part of the field, and that's the only place you can hit it if you touch it, the place you go where you can handle everything. Then, if he wants to pull from there, he can. It's wherever the ball is that will determine that." That way, Cruz can hit every pitch that is thrown in the strike zone, instead of only hitting inside pitches well. "I keep saying it, he needs to stay in the middle of the field," Washington said. "That's not to say he's not going to pull balls. But when you stay in the middle of the field, your timing is right there to yank it if it's out there for you."
Adrian Beltre had appeared in all 100 Rangers games before Saturday. He was one of just nine Major League players to have appeared in every game this season for his team.
The Rangers have lost 10 of their last 14 games against the Blue Jays.
The Rangers are the first team in the Major Leagues with three pitchers to have 10-plus wins this season. They reached that landmark when Colby Lewis earned his 10th win on Friday. It's the earliest the Rangers have had a trio of 10-win starters since 1979.
Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.