Cruz, running without problem, nears return

Cruz, running without problem, nears return

ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Nelson Cruz and pitcher Darren O'Day are getting closer to returning from the disabled list, but the Rangers are still hoping that the two can play in one or two Minor League games next week before they are activated.

Cruz, on the DL since Aug. 29 with a strained left hamstring, has started running the bases without problem. He did so on Friday and said he was "80 percent." He just hasn't gone full speed with the usual agility tests that involve stopping and starting. That could come early next week, and the next step would be a rehab assignment in the Minors.

The question is whether Triple-A Round Rock or Double-A Frisco will still be participating in the playoffs.

"I would like to see him play in a few games," manager Ron Washington said. "If that's not possible, we'll just see where he is. If not, he'll just have to put on [the uniform] and go out there."

The other possibility would be to set up a simulated game so Cruz could face live pitching -- and O'Day would be one candidate to pitch against him. O'Day, who has been sidelined since Aug. 25 with a sore right shoulder, has thrown twice off the mound in the bullpen and continues to show improvement.

O'Day is eligible to come off the DL but will probably need at least one or two more throwing sessions on the side. A rehab or simulated game is also a possibility.

Cruz is not eligible to come off the DL until Tuesday.