MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rangers don't want to lose Andres Blanco or Joaquin Arias, but manager Ron Washington hasn't been able to find them playing time lately.
In the meantime, while sitting with two utility infielders on the bench, the Rangers are short one outfielder while Nelson Cruz is limited because of a torn left hamstring muscle. Cruz was out of the lineup for the second straight day while still available for pinch-hitting duties.
Cruz, who pinch-hit in Friday's game, said he is "better" and is experiencing only minimal soreness. He won't be in the lineup on Sunday but the Rangers are hoping that he can be used as a designated hitter during the three-game series with the White Sox that starts on Tuesday in Chicago.
Cruz pinch-hit for Julio Borbon in the seventh inning on Friday and grounded out. If he had reached base, pitcher Rich Harden would have pinch-ran for him. When the inning was over, Washington had to put designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero in right field and lose his designated hitter.
He was left with two utility infielders on the bench. The Rangers don't want to call an extra outfielder from Triple-A because they would have to expose either Blanco or Arias to outright waivers before they can be sent to the Minor Leagues.
"If we let either one of them go right now, we'd lose them," Washington said. "I need Blanco and I need Arias."
Blanco, going into Saturday, has not played in 10 straight games while Arias has appeared in just three of 11 games since coming off the disabled list. Washington said there are no plans to get Blanco in the lineup anytime soon. The Rangers are in a stretch where they have three days off in an eight-day period and Washington doesn't see any of his infielders needing a day off.
"I'm not going to give [Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus] a day off so Andres can play," Washington said. "We're trying to win ballgames. We've got to go with the best we've got."