ANAHEIM -- One big hurdle for the Rangers as they approach the playoffs: Get Nelson Cruz hot at the plate. Cruz is 5-for-32 with just one RBI in nine games since returning to the lineup. He missed two weeks with a strained left hamstring.
"Right now I want to make sure my swing is right for the playoffs," Cruz said. "It feels right and I'm seeing the ball well. I just need more at-bats. The more at-bats I need, the better I will be."
Cruz will be in the lineup when the playoffs start and he will be in right field. Josh Hamilton continues to play center. Cruz said the hamstring is 100 percent and will be for the playoffs.
"I have to be," Cruz said. "I have no choice. The playoffs are totally different. It's a one-time chance. It's no time to be thinking about anything else."
Cruz hit .317 with six home runs and 11 RBIs in the playoffs last year. He was 0-for-4 on Monday night against the Angels, but manager Ron Washington continues to see progress.
"I think he's getting close," Washington said. "He took some great passes [Monday night]. He could be our secret weapon on Friday. The passes he took were level, they were aggressive and on time. He just missed it."