Hamstring issues aren't concern for Cruz, Beltre

Hamstring issues aren't concern for Cruz, Beltre

ARLINGTON -- Nelson Cruz went 3-for-9 with a home run in his last two games of the regular season and pronounced himself ready to go for Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

Cruz missed almost three weeks with a strained left hamstring and has been trying to get his swing back together for the playoffs.

He said before Thursday's workout at the Ballpark in Arlington that he has achieved that goal.

"I feel good," Cruz said. "My swing is there, my timing is there and my legs are fine. I couldn't be in a better situation."

With Cruz back to full strength, the Rangers are expected to use him in right, Josh Hamilton in center and David Murphy in left. Endy Chavez and Craig Gentry will likely come off the bench, although manager Ron Washington has not officially announced his starting lineup for Game 1.

There has been no doubt about Beltre's swing. He hit .374 with 12 home runs and 29 RBIs since coming off the disabled list at the beginning of September. He missed almost six weeks with a strained left hamstring but was named the AL Player of the Month on Thursday.

The question is how much the hamstring impacts him on defense and his ability to react quickly on hard-hit balls.

"I'm good enough," Beltre said. "It has been feeling better, but I haven't had the need to force it. The playoffs are different. Hopefully our team doesn't need for me to run crazy. I want to make sure I stay on the field during the playoffs."