Cruz not yet ready for duty in outfield

Cruz not yet ready for duty in outfield

Cruz not yet ready for duty in outfield
OAKLAND -- Mitch Moreland was back on the bench Wednesday for the fourth straight game because Nelson Cruz is not ready to return to the outfield. Cruz, recovering from a strained left hamstring, remains at designated hitter and manager Ron Washington said he will be there again on Thursday afternoon as well.

"I don't think it's a good idea putting him in the outfield with the day game after the night game," Washington said.

But Cruz stays in the lineup even though he is 2-for-15 with six strikeouts since coming off the disabled list because Washington wants to get his bat going. Cruz was 1-for-5 with a double on Tuesday and Washington said he saw progress.

"I saw much better passes at the ball," Washington said. "I'm looking forward to him breaking out soon. He doesn't have to hit the ball out of the ballpark, just hit it hard."

Moreland, who has four hits in his last 25 at-bats, remains on the bench because Michael Young has to start at first base while Cruz is at DH.

"I understand the situation," Moreland said. "You do what you've got to do to keep it rolling. I'm still into the game every day."

Washington said the time off will help Moreland.

"He needs it," Washington said. "He's a grinder. It's a refresher. He has been grinding. It's not what I wanted to do but it worked out that way. He'll come back strong and mentally refreshed. In the past when I've sat Mitch like this, he's come back ready to go."