Hamilton, Cruz, Andrus out of Texas' lineup
All-Star outfielder given game off; shortstop rests with sore knee
TORONTO -- Citing his low energy level, Rangers manager Ron Washington gave Josh Hamilton the day off in Saturday's 3-0 win over the Blue Jays. Washington did so even though Nelson Cruz was unavailable because of a tight left quad muscle."I have been trying to get Hamilton a day off," Washington said. "I just decided to do it without asking him. His energy level last night was low. I need Hamilton. I'm certainly not taking him for granted. I just need to give some of these guys a day off. He didn't get an All-Star break and he has been going since the All-Star break. I felt like he needed a day." Hamilton is hitting .311 with a .557 slugging percentage since the All-Star break and went 11-for-29 (.379) in his previous seven games. "I feel fine physically," Hamilton said. "It's kind of a mental break -- but especially playing on turf, it's also a break for the body." The Blue Jays have a hard artificial surface, which is one reason why Cruz was out of the lineup. Hamilton also felt it too after just one game at Rogers Centre. "Playing on grass all the time, getting on the turf is a lot harder," said Hamilton, who did enter for defensive purposes in the top of the ninth. "Playing multiple days on it, you get used to it. But with two or three games, you get sore." Cruz had to come out of Friday's game in the fifth inning because of the quad tightness. The Rangers don't see a need for him to go on the disabled list, but Washington had no desire to send him out on the turf. Cruz is not likely to play on Sunday, but he should be ready to go when the Rangers open a three-game series against the Tigers on Tuesday in Detroit. "We caught it before it got worse, but I'm not putting him on that turf," Washington said. "He should be ready for Detroit." Hamilton is hitting .111 (7-for-63) in day games, but the Rangers play Sunday afternoon in Toronto, and Washington said he'll be back in the lineup. Shortstop Elvis Andrus was also out of the lineup on Saturday while dealing with a sore right knee that he twisted in Friday's game. He is day to day. That allowed Omar Quintanilla to get his first start at shortstop since being called up from Triple-A Round Rock on July 8, when Andres Blanco went on the disabled list. Quintanilla, who was hitless in four at-bats, faces an uncertain future with the Rangers. Blanco is 2-for-7 in two games on a medical rehab assignment at Round Rock, He'll play again on Saturday and Sunday and will meet the Rangers in Detroit to be activated off the disabled list. At that point, the Rangers would have to put Quintanilla through outright waivers to get him back to Triple-A, since he is out of options. That would allow another team in need of an infielder to claim him.
Right-handed bat could be trade need
TORONTO -- Last year, the Rangers acquired outfielder Jeff Francoeur at the end of August because they were in need of a right-handed bat. They may be in the same position again.The Blue Jays started soft-tossing left-hander Brad Mills against the Rangers on Saturday. Despite that, the Rangers had five left-handed hitters in the lineup: Omar Quintanilla, Chris Davis, Mitch Moreland, Endy Chavez and David Murphy. Chavez entered hitting .480 off left-handers (12-for-25), but Davis, Murphy and Moreland were hitting a combined .202 off them. "I know it's an odd lineup, but hopefully it's the lineup I need to break out," Washington said. "Maybe some of our left-handers can neutralize [Mills'] changeup."
Quintanilla was hitless in four at-bats, but the other four combined for five of the Rangers' nine hits in a 3-0 win. Moreland cranked his first Major League regular-season home run off a southpaw in the second inning.The Rangers' right-handed-hitting capability has been clobbered by injury. Adrian Beltre and Craig Gentry are on the disabled list and Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus were out of the lineup.
Prospect Wieland ranks among pitching elite
TORONTO -- Double-A Frisco pitcher Joe Wieland's no-hitter on Friday left him with 129 2/3 innings pitched this season, the 12th-highest total in the Minor Leagues. There are 100 pitchers who have pitched 115 1/3 innings in the Minor Leagues this season.Among those 100 pitchers, Wieland ranks: First with a 1.80 ERA, between his time at Frisco and Class A Hickory. Eighth with 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings and third with a ratio of 8.80 strikeouts for every walk. Nineteenth with 7.8 hits allowed per nine innings, but two other Rangers Minor League pitchers sit higher than that. Frisco's Robbie Erlin is fifth at 7.3 hits per nine innings and Robbie Ross, at Class A Myrtle Beach, is sixth at 7.4.
Mike Napoli went into Saturday's game hitting .434 in July with a .500 on-base percentage and a .792 slugging percentage. Those numbers were all the highest in the Major Leagues among players with a minimum of 50 at-bats. He went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in the Rangers' 3-0 win. Napoli batted cleanup on Saturday for only the second time this season. The Rangers have had only two other players with multiple at-bats in the cleanup spot -- Adrian Beltre and Michael Young. Beltre, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, played catch on Saturday.
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.