SEATTLE -- Yorvit Torrealba started at catcher on Friday for the Rangers. That bucks the recent trend of Mike Napoli asserting himself as the Rangers' No. 1 catcher.Torrealba was starting for only the fifth time in 14 games for the Rangers in September. Napoli has started eight games and Matt Treanor started one. Since the All-Star break, Torrealba has started 29 times, two more than Napoli. Before the All-Star break, Torrealba had a 63-23 advantage in starts behind the plate. "There are no issues," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "When Torrealba is back there, he is our starting catcher. When Mike is back there, he is our starting catcher. Right now, Napoli is swinging a hot bat and I'm going to ride that hot bat. I'll give Torrealba his games. How many I don't know." Torrealba acknowledged Napoli remains one of the hottest hitters on the team. Going into Friday, Napoli was hitting .552 with four home runs and nine RBIs in his last nine games. Since the All-Star break, he is hitting a Major League-best .382 with 14 home runs, 34 RBIs and a .685 slugging percentage in 51 games. "I'm really happy for him," Torrealba said. "When you play against him, you don't really see the talent and the way he goes about his business. Playing with him has been unbelievable. Offensively, he's on fire and he calls good games." But he has also excelled behind the plate. The Rangers are 35-15 when Napoli catches and their pitchers have a .323 ERA with him back there. They are 47-44 with Torrealba catching and their pitchers have a 4.37 ERA working with him. "I'm happy with the way my year is going, but I still want to improve my calling of games," Torrealba said. "I'm not too happy with that. It's a new league and I'm still learning the league. Offensively, I still feel good." Torrealba's 91 starts at catcher are still the second most of his career. He caught 89 games last season for the Padres. His career high was 105 starts for the Rockies in 2007, when they advanced to the World Series.
Beltre at DH as hamstring continues to improve
SEATTLE -- Adrian Beltre was at designated hitter on Friday for the fourth time in 14 games since he was activated off the disabled list at the beginning of September.
Beltre missed more than five weeks with a pulled left hamstring, but it continues to get stronger. Rangers manager Ron Washington just wants to give him an occasional day at DH."It's getting better," Beltre said. "I haven't tested it, so I can't tell you what percentage it is, but it's getting better. I don't feel the need to push it, but it's good enough to be on the field every day." Washington does not want Beltre pushing it. "I love the way he's managing it," Washington said. "Whatever he gives us, I'll take it. I just love having him in the lineup. He doesn't need another gear. He's fine. He's scoring from second on base hits and he can score on balls into the gaps. There are guys slower than him playing every day." Beltre took a 19-game hitting streak into Friday's game, tied for the third longest in the American League this season. He was also hitting .389 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in 13 games since being activated.
Ogando earns another start down stretch
SEATTLE -- The Rangers have their starting rotation set for the final two weeks of the season. It includes Alexi Ogando, who will get at least one more start next weekend against the Mariners.Right now the Rangers have C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison pitching in the three-game series with the Mariners. Derek Holland, Wilson and Lewis will pitch in the three-game series against Oakland. That leaves Harrison, Ogando and Holland next weekend against the Mariners in Arlington. For the final three games against the Angels, the Rangers have Wilson, Lewis and Harrison lined up to pitch. All of that is subject to change depending on where the American League West race stands. Ogando earned another start with six scoreless innings in a 7-4 victory over the Indians on Thursday. Rangers starters went into Friday's game with a 6-1 record and a 2.17 ERA in their last eight games and 10-4 with a 2.77 ERA in their last 15.
Cruz likely to return to lineup on Saturday
SEATTLE -- Nelson Cruz, who hasn't started in a game since injuring his left hamstring on Aug. 28, is expected to be back in the Rangers' lineup on Saturday with left-hander Anthony Vasquez on the mound for the Mariners.Cruz has had just one at-bat since coming off the disabled list, striking out on Wednesday against the Indians. But he said the hamstring is ready. "It's up to them, but the hamstring is good to go," Cruz said. Manager Ron Washington is planning to use Cruz at designated hitter. He does not know when Cruz will be back in the outfield, but it could be in the next few games. "We'll see how handles [being the DH] and keep taking baby steps," Washington said. "If he's fortunate enough to get on base, we'll see how he handles it and moves around."
Michael Young has 101 RBIs on the season and has accomplished that while hitting just 11 home runs. Since 1946, only 12 players have finished a season with more than 100 RBIs and fewer than 12 home runs. The last to do it was Jeff Cirillo, who hit 11 home runs with 115 RBIs for the Rockies in 2000. Pitcher Matt Harrison turned 26 on Friday. Alexi Ogando pitched six scoreless innings against the Indians on Thursday. That marks the 24th time this season that a Rangers starter has pitched at least six innings without giving up a run.
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.