Washington shifts Cruz to seven-hole

Washington shifts Cruz to seven-hole

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington adjusted his lineup for the first game of the Angels series, dropping Nelson Cruz to the seventh spot in the order.

Cruz normally bats fifth but has been struggling at the plate. He went into Friday hitting .208 with two home runs and six RBIs in his last 19 games.

"Cruz has pride and we're trying to see if we can get him to relax a little bit," Washington said. "I'm not saying he's pressing, but because of the pride factor, sometimes he tries too hard."

Washington also went with David Murphy as his designated hitter with Mike Napoli at catcher and Yorvit Torrealba on the bench. Washington had been shuttling Napoli and Torrealba between catcher and DH, but that was while they had Taylor Teagarden as the third catcher.

Teagarden was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday because the Rangers needed an extra reliever in the bullpen. The Rangers could use some production from Murphy's left-handed bat because they will be facing right-handers Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver this weekend.

Murphy was 5-for-14 in his career against Haren going into Friday's game. But he was also just 2-for-20 in his last seven games and has just three RBIs in his last 22 games.

"The goal is to win the division, and I would like to be a part of that as much as I can," Murphy said. "Every day I'm in the lineup is pretty vital toward earning more playing time. But in the end, it's about winning the division. Whatever the lineup is or how we go about doing it, that's the No. 1 goal."