KANSAS CITY -- Outfielder Nelson Cruz, activated off the disabled list on Monday, is back in the Rangers' lineup and manager Ron Washington is back to alternating David Murphy and Julio Borbon.
Murphy was in the lineup on Monday with Borbon on the bench. But Washington made it clear that Borbon and Murphy will both continue to play. Washington wanted Murphy out there on Monday because the Rangers had scored just two runs over their past two games.
"I need some run producers out there, guys who can drive in runs," Washington said. "Murphy can drive in runs. I have four pretty good outfielders. I'm going to give them all time so they are all engaged. I feel comfortable with all of them out there.
Murphy started in center with Cruz in left and Vladimir Guerrero in right. Josh Hamilton was originally in center field but was moved to designated hitter right before the game because the Rangers want to give his legs a rest.
Murphy gives the Rangers potentially more run production when he is in the lineup while Borbon offers more speed and defense. Murphy went into Monday's game hitting .338 with a .425 on-base percentage and a .568 slugging percentage in his last 23 games.
"It's been the same thing all year," Murphy said. "They are going to play the hot hand. Julio needs to know how important he is to this team. He'll get his chances over the final month the same way I knew I would get my chances early in the season. He needs to stay ready down the stretch."
Borbon has played extremely well defensively but his hitting has tailed off as the summer has progressed. He is hitting .222 in his last 42 games, he has just two RBIs in his last 33 games and he has just two steals in his last 61 games.
"You're going to see Murphy out there and you're going to see Borbon out there," Washington said.