Rangers stick with Cruz in spite of funk

Rangers stick with Cruz in spite of funk

BALTIMORE -- Nelson Cruz was in right field on Monday for the 29th straight game. He remains the only Rangers player who has started every game in the field this season and entered the four-game series against the Orioles with a career .361 batting average against Baltimore. That's the seventh-highest mark for one player with at least 100 at-bats against the O's since they moved to Baltimore in 1954.

He also went into Monday's game in a 2-for-22 slump and batting .151 in his last 14 games. Cruz's last home run was on April 17 in Boston. But with Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton both missing time in the past week because of injuries, manager Ron Washington has been reluctant to pull Cruz from the lineup.

"We're just going to keep working and sending him out there," Washington said. "He's one of our horses -- we have to keep saddling him up and riding him out there until it falls into place. Even though he's struggling, it could change with one swing of the bat. He's one of the guys we're depending on, so we've got to wait on him."

Cruz rewarded Washington's patience in the series opener at Baltimore, recording two singles and a double in his first four times to the plate.

Before the game, Washington admitted that he may have to sit Cruz for a game if he doesn't start to heat up.

"I've got to think about it, but with Beltre missing days and Hamilton missing days, I just can't snatch that bat out of the lineup," Washington said. "I'm going to give him time off; I just don't know when."