ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton was at it again, losing his grip and throwing his bat during one of his plate appearances on Friday night. This time the bat did not end up in the stands. It almost nailed Adrian Beltre in the on-deck circle. It's not the first time that Hamilton has almost hit Beltre this season. Beltre retreated to the dugout to await his at-bat.Beltre, who hit a two-run home run in his first at-bat Friday, discussed possible precautions to avoid getting hit by Hamilton's bat while on deck. "I'm kind of expecting it. He doesn't do it every day, but it's one of those things where if I'm not expecting it and I'm relaxed, it might hit me," Beltre said. "Maybe for now I'm just going to stay in the dugout, wait until he finishes his at-bat, and then I'll come out. That way I'll be safe." Hamilton is batting .229 in his last 29 games entering Saturday and struck out three times Friday. He still leads the Majors in RBIs with 64 and slugging percentage (.665). Because of a loose grip that stems from him not putting much pressure on his right middle finger, Hamilton may lead the league in most bats thrown as well. "It's nothing I can control. It's nothing new," Hamilton said. "[Beltre's] learning from his experiences. He's finally learning. It's a good idea."
Napoli trying to turn things around at the plate
ARLINGTON -- Mike Napoli hit a home run in Friday's 4-1 victory over the Astros. He finished the night 1-for-3 and is 3-for-32 with two home runs in his last 10 games entering Saturday."It's not a sign of anything, I just happened to have a good at-bat," Napoli said. "It's been at-bat to at-bat. Sometimes I feel good up there, sometimes I don't. I'm trying to get a feel of consistency, but right now, it's up and down." Napoli went into Saturday's game hitting .236 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs. He had a .346 on-base percentage and a .456 slugging percentage. Last year, he was hitting .221 on June 23 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs along with a .344 on-base percentage and a .493 slugging percentage. He was also on the disabled list with a rib cage injury and really didn't take off until after being activated on July 4. "I'm hoping it's going to turn around," Napoli said. "I'm working at it, I'm working in the cage, doing everything I can. It's basically getting comfortable at the plate and seeing the ball like I was before." Napoli is not the only Rangers hitter trying to find himself at the plate. The Rangers went into Saturday's game hitting .260 with a .395 slugging percentage as a team for the month of June while averaging 4.2 runs per game. They hit .292 with a .484 slugging percentage and scored 5.4 runs per game in April. In May, they hit .285 with a .471 slugging percentage and scored 5.9 runs per game. But manager Ron Washington remains patient with his hitters because of their proven track record. "No doubt about it ... we're very consistent in the way we do things," Washington said. "When you start to make changes, that's when you panic. We don't panic. We know what they are capable of doing. Let it play out. I believe in them. Nothing has changed. We're going to win regardless. They will come back."
Rangers checked on Youkilis, but not involved
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers checked on the possibility of acquiring Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis, but they are "not involved anymore," according to Major League sources.Youkilis is being actively shopped by the Red Sox, and the Rangers are without first baseman Mitch Moreland for four to six weeks because of a strained left hamstring. But the Rangers still have Mike Napoli, Michael Young and Brandon Snyder to play first base in his absence. The Rangers are interested in upgrading their bench, but they weren't sure that Youkilis would have been happy in Texas filling what would most likely have been a supporting role. Youkilis is a three-time All-Star for the Red Sox, but he went into Saturday hitting .225 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 41 games. He had a .311 on-base percentage and a .359 slugging percentage.
Gentry exits game after aggravating right ankle
ARLINGTON -- After sustaining a right ankle injury during Friday's win over the Rockies, Craig Gentry started Saturday, but he left the game in the fourth inning after aggravating the ankle.For the second straight game, Gentry batted ninth and started in center field. But he was replaced by Brandon Snyder, who took Gentry's spot in the lineup and came in to play right field. Nelson Cruz moved from right to left, and Josh Hamilton moved from left to center. "It's getting better. It's just one of those aggravating things," Gentry said after the game. "I was having trouble swinging. It was my back leg. I definitely wasn't sure if I was going to be able to run full speed and run down balls in the outfield. I didn't want to go out there and hurt the team." Gentry rolled his ankle Friday on his way to first base trying to beat out a bunt back to Rockies starting pitcher Christian Friedrich, who fired to first in time to retire him. Team trainer Jamie Reed greeted Gentry as he limped into the dugout. He finished the game, going 1-for-3 and striking out in his last at-bat. "He taped it up and finished the game," manager Ron Washington said. "He left last night, and Jamie said he looked like he'll be a player. If he can't go, I'll just pencil someone else in the nine-spot and we'll move on." Before Saturday's game, Gentry said his ankle was sore but that he would be able to play through it. Snyder singled and scored in the fifth before David Murphy pinch-hit for him that same inning and lined out to first. Gentry iced his ankle several times after leaving the game and, while he has not had an MRI, he is confident he will be available for Sunday's series finale against the Rockies. "I've gotten a lot of treatment," Gentry said. "I don't know how it's going to feel tomorrow, obviously, but I'll take it day by day."
Roy Oswalt, Justin Grimm and Yu Darvish have all earned wins this season in their Rangers starting debut. Three pitchers doing that in one season has happened only once in club history. That was in 2006 with Vicente Padilla, Robinson Tejeda and Kip Wells. The Rangers also went into Saturday's game with six straight wins from six different starters. The last time that happened was in 2002 with Kenny Rogers, Rob Bell, Chan Ho Park, Joaquin Benoit, Dave Burba and Ismael Valdez. The Rangers have promoted pitcher Luke Jackson from low Class A Hickory to Class A Myrtle Beach. Jackson, the 45th overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, was 5-5 with a 4.92 ERA in 13 starts for Hickory, but 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA in his last five starts. The Rangers also promoted shortstop Hanser Alberto from Hickory to Myrtle Beach. He was fourth in the South Atlantic League with a .337 batting average. Catcher Kellin Deglan has been placed on the disabled list at Hickory with a right thumb contusion. Outfielder Jake Cone is also sidelined there with soreness in his left Achilles. Deglan was a first-round pick from the 2010 Draft, while Cone was 37th overall in 2011.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.