OAKLAND -- Nelson Cruz was back at designated hitter on Tuesday and will be on Wednesday, according to manager Ron Washington. With Michael Young having to play first base, that means Mitch Moreland is on the bench even though Oakland is pitching three right-handers in this series.
Moreland is 4-for-25 in his last seven games and hitting .155 in his last 20 games, but Washington said that's not why he is on the bench.
"He would be out there if Cruz was healthy," Washington said. "I'm not going to take Michael out of the lineup, so Mitch is the one who is getting a few days off. Mitch's swing is getting a little bit long, but he would be in there if it wasn't for Cruz."
The Rangers' biggest concern with Cruz is he's struggling at the plate. He is 1-for-9 with five strikeouts in his first two starts after missing more than two weeks with a strained left hamstring. He came out early on Wednesday to take extra batting practice off pitching coach Mike Maddux, who threw him a bunch of curveballs.
"Not good ... I'm still working on it," Cruz said. "I'm going to keep working and working. It will get there."
Washington said Cruz will be at DH for the next two games. Then he'll decide on Thursday if Cruz is ready for the outfield or if he needs to wait until they get back to Texas.