Cruz a fixture in Rangers' lineup

Cruz a fixture in Rangers' lineup

Cruz a fixture in Rangers' lineup
ARLINGTON -- Nelson Cruz has started all 34 Rangers games in right field, a big accomplishment considering he has been on the disabled list six times since August 2009 and hasn't played more than 128 games in a season.

Cruz will get a day off soon, manager Ron Washington said Sunday, but not yet. The designated-hitter spot had been tied up for a week by Adrian Beltre, who returned to third base after dealing with inflammation of his left hamstring. Before that, the Rangers had been playing a man down with Beltre out for five straight games.

And the Rangers are also trying to get the slow-starting Cruz back on track. He batted .283 in the last 15 games to raise his batting average to .254 entering Sunday.

Cruz delivered the biggest hit of the night for the Rangers in their 13-6 win over the Angels on Sunday with a third-inning grand slam. He finished 4-for-5 with the four RBIs and raised his average .273.

"It's going to come soon," Washington said of getting Cruz a day off. "We've got Beltre back. We had to to do what we had to do. Nelson's just gotta suck it up."

The Rangers got a scare with Cruz on Saturday. Cruz was awarded first base by a hit-by-pitch, but that may have been a sell job by the right fielder. It appeared he might not have been hit on the wrist.