ARLINGTON -- Nelson Cruz started for the second straight night on Friday against the Baltimore Orioles. That's only the third time that's happened in September, and it was only the eighth time in 20 games that he has been in the starting lineup this month. But manager Ron Washington said David Murphy will be back in there on Saturday. As the Rangers head down the stretch and Washington continually talks about right field being one of his priorities next year, it's clear that Cruz has faded from their future plans.
But not completely. "We haven't given up on Cruz," Washington said. "Murphy has just played his way in there. Cruz just ended up getting days off because of Murphy. I intended to get him back in there. As far as where we go from here, we'll assess that when we meet and go over everything. That's a talent. We're not giving up on him." Murphy went into Friday's game hitting .361 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 35 games, while Cruz is hitting .221 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs in 87 games. "This season is not what I expected," Cruz said. "When I look at myself, I know what I can do. This is not the best that I can do." Cruz will have to win a job in Spring Training, especially if the Rangers go outside to get a center fielder. That could put him in direct competition with both Marlon Byrd and Murphy for a job in right field. "I just have to come into Spring Training in the best shape of my life and show them I can play," Cruz said. McCarthy on target: Brandon McCarthy took a day off from throwing on Friday while tending to some tendinitis in his right forearm but said he is hopeful that he'll be able to start on Tuesday against the Angels. "Hopefully, a day of rest will let it relax," McCarthy said. "It's just a soreness that usually loosens up and you're good to go. If it was bad, I wouldn't have started [Thursday's] game, but I was able to get through it. It's not a serious thing." McCarthy threw four scoreless innings against the Orioles on Thursday, then said after the game that he was "50-50" for his next start. That caught some others by surprise. "As far as I know, he's fine," Washington said. Monday pitcher: Rookie right-hander Armando Galarraga is not the only candidate to replace Vicente Padilla against the Angels on Monday. Washington said the Rangers are also considering Jamey Wright. Galarraga is the likely candidate but Washington said, "I just can't say definitely." Galarraga seems to think he is starting and is preparing that way. "This is where I can show people that I can pitch up here," Galarraga said. Gold Glove voting: Washington and the coaching staff were doing their Gold Glove voting on Friday. With Mark Teixeira having been traded to the Atlanta Braves, the Rangers could be without a Gold Glove winner for the first time since Ivan Rodriguez's rookie season in 1991. They've had at least one in the last 15 years from the group of Rodriguez, Teixeira, pitcher Kenny Rogers, first baseman Rafael Palmeiro and shortstop Alex Rodriguez. Teixeira is still technically eligible to win the award but probably will lose votes simply by leaving the league at the trade deadline. Washington said he thinks second baseman Ian Kinsler will eventually be a Gold Glove winner. "He has the tools to do it," Washington said. "He has the agility and he has the hands. All we need to do is let him grow, so he can maintain his focus." He said it: "I've tried to be a nice guy and get along with people. People said I couldn't get along with people but I've gotten along great with everybody here." -- Rangers designated hitter Sammy Sosa Briefly: The Rangers' loss on Friday was their first this season when leading after eight innings. They had been 62-0 in those games before letting a 1-0 lead slip away. ... Sosa was in the lineup on Friday, and Washington is planning on starting him on Sunday as well. He'll probably get those two games and Wednesday against the Angels. Up next: Right-hander Edinson Volquez (2-1, 3.52 ERA) makes his fifth start for the Rangers at 7:05 p.m. CT on Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles. Right-hander Radhames Liz (0-2, 7.71) pitches for the Orioles.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.