ARLINGTON -- Nelson Cruz hit a single in the eighth inning on Friday night, tried to stretch it into a double and was thrown out by Angels right fielder Torii Hunter after a hard slide. Cruz did not get up right away and the Rangers were concerned that he had pulled a hamstring muscle."That's the reaction everybody gets every time something hurts," Cruz said. "It was nothing ... just part of the game." What happened was shortstop Erick Aybar kneed Cruz in the side, knocking the wind out of him. Cruz stayed in the game and was back in the lineup on Saturday afternoon. Cruz went into Saturday having played in 154 games, the most on the Rangers and the most in his career. He was on the disabled list six times in the past three seasons for a variety of leg injuries, but he avoided that this season. The legs do give him problems on occasion, but so far they have not kept him out of the lineup for an extended period of time. "That was my goal before the season," Cruz said. "Thank God I have been able to play that many games." The Rangers have wondered the past few years what kind of numbers Cruz could put up if he stayed healthy the whole season. His numbers this season have been solid but not overwhelming. He ended Friday hitting .263 with 23 home runs and 88 RBIs. He leads the Rangers with 43 doubles and his RBI totals are a career high. But his .460 slugging percentage is a career low for a full season. He had a combined .534 slugging percentage over 2009-2011. "It's been up and down the whole season," said Cruz, who was 5-for-6 in his last two games going into Saturday. His home run on Friday was his first in 22 games. "It's definitely good to feel strong right now with five games left," Cruz said. "Hopefully I can keep it going like this into the playoffs."
Ogando and Uehara ready to take on greater roles
ARLINGTON -- Rangers reliever Mike Adams is sidelined with a strained muscle in his right shoulder and may not be ready for the playoffs. That means Alexi Ogando and/or Koji Uehara will have to step up in a more prominent role as the Rangers go into postseason."That's what we're here for," Ogando said. "If somebody has an injury, we have to step up. If they call my name, I have to be ready. Both Ogando and Uehara have overcome their own physical problems. Uehara was out from June 10 to Aug. 26 with a strained lat muscle in his right rib cage. But he has a 1.59 ERA in 14 games since coming off the disabled list and has retired 20 straight hitters going into Saturday. He has also not allowed a baserunner in his last eight appearances, the longest such streak in club history. "It's getting a lot better," Uehara said, adding that his split-finger fastball "is working and the fear from not getting injured is going away." Ogando was on the disabled list from June 11 to July 17 with a strained right groin muscle. He had a 2.08 ERA when he went down and has a 4.40 ERA since his return. He also had some soreness in his right biceps muscle earlier this month but he has pitched three scoreless innings over his last two games. He said he hasn't had any problems lately with the biceps. Ogando was 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in 13 postseason appearances last year. Uehara made three appearances in the first two rounds, allowing five runs in 1 1/3 innings, and was not on the World Series roster. "I've forgotten about postseason last year," Uehara said. "I don't even think about it. I'd rather you not ask about it."
Ross unhappy with performance since DL return
ARLINGTON -- Rangers left-handed reliever Robbie Ross entered Friday's game against the Angels with his team trailing, 4-1. Ross ended up allowing three runs in the seventh and the Rangers ended up losing, 7-4."It's just disappointing, obviously," Ross said. "I'm sitting there thinking if I didn't give up those runs, the game would be tied. It's tough when you expect more. You want to keep your team in the game." Ross has made four appearances since coming off the disabled list on Sept. 15 with a strained left forearm. He has pitched 3 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on five hits and a walk. "It could be I'm too fine on pitches and missing spots in critical moments," Ross said. "I'm trying to remember what I was doing and try to put it back together, but it's going slow." Ross has given up four hits in his last eight at-bats to right-handed hitters and manager Ron Washington said he needs to do a better job of throwing his cut fastball inside on them.
Perez slated to start on Monday -- for now
ARLINGTON -- Rookie left-hander Martin Perez is scheduled to pitch on Monday against the Athletics in Oakland. But manager Ron Washington said Perez is in the bullpen this weekend against the Angels and will be used if needed. That would leave the Rangers undecided for Monday against the Athletics."If we don't use him out of the bullpen this weekend, then he's the guy on Monday," Washington said. "But we've got to get through these two games and everybody is on deck." Right-handers Scott Feldman and Roy Oswalt are candidates to start on Monday if needed. But Oswalt hasn't thrown more than two innings or 50 pitches in a game since a start against the Twins on Aug. 23.
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.