ARLINGTON -- The Rangers activated Nelson Cruz off the disabled list on Tuesday, but he is not ready to return to the lineup.
Instead, Cruz is limited to pinch-hitting duty, and he will likely need a pinch-runner for now if he gets on base. When Cruz is ready to return to the lineup, it will likely be as a designated hitter.
"Right now, we're getting him back slowly," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We'll use him to pinch-hit and take it a day at a time. We'll probably DH him right out of the chute."
Cruz went on the disabled list on Aug. 29 with a strained left hamstring and was activated on the first day he was eligible. He is still not running 100 percent, though he says he's good enough to play. But Cruz has still not run hard in the outfield.
"The way I run ... when I run, I feel like it doesn't bother me, so I know I'm ready," Cruz said. "Now it's their call. I go day by day -- whatever they decide [about] when I can play, I'll play."
The Rangers want to take it slowly because they need Cruz for the rest of the season and beyond. Like Adrian Beltre, who missed five weeks with a strained hamstring, the Rangers understand that if Cruz re-injures the muscle, he could be sidelined for the rest of the season.
"Today is the 15th day," Washington said. "I'm not a hamstring guy that believes you can come off on the 15th day and be ready. He's available to do what we need him to do, but we're not going to push him on the 15th day."