Cruz, running without problem, nears return
O'Day's sore shoulder also continues to show improvement
ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Nelson Cruz and pitcher Darren O'Day are getting closer to returning from the disabled list, but the Rangers are still hoping that the two can play in one or two Minor League games next week before they are activated.Cruz, on the DL since Aug. 29 with a strained left hamstring, has started running the bases without problem. He did so on Friday and said he was "80 percent." He just hasn't gone full speed with the usual agility tests that involve stopping and starting. That could come early next week, and the next step would be a rehab assignment in the Minors. The question is whether Triple-A Round Rock or Double-A Frisco will still be participating in the playoffs. "I would like to see him play in a few games," manager Ron Washington said. "If that's not possible, we'll just see where he is. If not, he'll just have to put on [the uniform] and go out there." The other possibility would be to set up a simulated game so Cruz could face live pitching -- and O'Day would be one candidate to pitch against him. O'Day, who has been sidelined since Aug. 25 with a sore right shoulder, has thrown twice off the mound in the bullpen and continues to show improvement. O'Day is eligible to come off the DL but will probably need at least one or two more throwing sessions on the side. A rehab or simulated game is also a possibility.
Cruz is not eligible to come off the DL until Tuesday.
Rangers convinced that Ogando is ready
ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux met with Alexi Ogando on Wednesday and offered him more time off if he felt he needed it. Ogando declined, and will rejoin the rotation on Saturday against the Athletics."He was adamant that he is ready to pitch, so he'll take the ball," Washington said. "I'm convinced. It doesn't have to be a no-hitter, just keep us in the ballgame. Hopefully, he is ready to keep the ball down and throw it for strikes. If he does that, he'll be fine." Ogando went 2-2 with a 7.14 ERA in six starts in August, prompting the Rangers to skip him in the rotation. Scott Feldman took his spot on Monday, a 5-1 loss to the Rays, although Ogando was used out of the bullpen and pitched a scoreless ninth. "I saw he was able to keep the ball down," Maddux said. "He had a nice changeup and threw his breaking ball for strikes. It was short, but good." Maddux and Ogando have been working on some mechanical issues, but Maddux felt that Ogando needed a mental break as he battles the grind of his first full season as a starter. "I was working hard and maybe thinking too hard," Ogando said. "Thinking and trying to do too much. Maybe that was the mental part."
Borbon looks toward next season
ARLINGTON -- Julio Borbon, who had surgery on his left ankle in July, rejoined the Rangers on Friday, but only for pregame workouts. Borbon, who has not played in a game since July 8, might do so once or twice before the season ends, but he is not a postseason option, and is concentrating on getting ready for 2012.Borbon wants to play a full season of winter ball in the Dominican Republic to make up for the time he missed this season. Dominican winter ball begins in mid-October. "I'm just trying to get back into baseball shape," Borbon said. "Everything else is going great. It would be nice to get in a game or two, but it's not a necessity. I wouldn't be disappointed if I'm not able to play. I've still got many years ahead of me." Borbon was the Opening Day center fielder but went on the disabled list on May 14 with a strained left hamstring. He was sent to Triple-A Round Rock on a rehab assignment on May 30 and was then optioned there on June 3 when the Rangers decided to stay with Endy Chavez in left field. Borbon broke the ankle in college and re-injured it sliding into a base at Round Rock. After being placed on the DL, he decided to have surgery to reinforce the ankle. Manager Ron Washington said that Borbon has a future with the team and is expected to compete for a job in Spring Training. "He's still a guy in the mix," Washington said. "We still have a lot of confidence in him. If he hadn't hurt himself, he probably would have been back up here. He was starting to get it together. Julio is going to get a chance to come back and play."
Rangers to remember 9/11
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers will commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with a number of events this weekend, including a first-pitch ceremony on Sunday involving four people who were significantly involved on that day and afterward.Captain John Pearson was a member of the maintenance crew that serviced the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. He later joined the Texas Army National Guard and has twice been deployed in Iraq. He is scheduled to deploy in Afghanistan next year. Harold Elliott, the Arlington police department chaplain, counseled New York firefighters and police officers at Ground Zero. Since then he has traveled around the country counseling people affected by 9/11. He is officially retired, but still serves as the department's chaplain. Sujo and Mary John were both in the Towers when they fell, and both survived. Their son, Jeremy, was born two months later. The Johns now live in Lantana, Texas; Mary and Jeremy will be at the ballpark on Sunday. The first 35,000 fans entering the park on Sunday will receive a Stars and Stripes cap. During pregame activities, the Texas Army National Guard will present the colors and unfurl a giant American flag in center field. A moment of silence will be observed prior to the national anthem, which will be performed by the Garland Fire Department group Fireforce. On Saturday the Rangers will be the presenting sponsor of the 3rd Annual North Texas Volunteer Challenge, which begins at the Texas Rangers Youth Ballpark in Arlington. The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation joins all of Major League Baseball in remembering the attacks of 9/11 and recognizing the National Day of Service and Remembrance through its support of this event.
Manager Ron Washington on why Neftali Feliz did not pitch the ninth inning of a tie game on Wednesday against the Rays: "If I bring him in there in a tie game and extend him for 25 pitches, I'm in trouble. I'd rather have Mark Lowe in there. He just didn't get it done." The Rangers end a streak of 24 consecutive night games when they play a day game on Saturday. The rotation for the Cleveland series will be Matt Harrison on Tuesday, Derek Holland on Wednesday and Alexi Ogando on Thursday. Colby Lewis, who started on Friday against the Athletics, isn't scheduled to pitch again until a week from Saturday, against the Mariners. The Rangers want to give him some extra rest.
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.