ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Nelson Cruz was back in the Rangers' starting lineup on Thursday after being out for three games with the combination of a strained right Achilles and virus. With right-hander Daniel Hudson on the mound for the D-backs, that meant Craig Gentry did not start for the first time in six games.
Playing against both left-handers and right-handers, Gentry was 9-for-17 in those five games, including a game-winning hit in the Rangers' 1-0 victory over the D-backs on Wednesday.
"He has been good, real good," manager Ron Washington said. "He has taken total advantage of the situation and done a good job offensively, defensively and running the bases. The kid has got some good skill sets."
When the Rangers have a completely healthy outfield, Washington has been starting Gentry against left-handers and David Murphy against right-handers. That is still the plan.
"Gentry's shown he can hit anybody right now," Washington said. "Still, his role is to play center field against left-handers."
Gentry went into Thursday's game hitting .340 on the season, including .377 against lefties and .298 against righties.
"I'm just going up there and staying with my approach," Gentry said. "I'm not trying to do too much. I've definitely had some lucky hits in there, but that's part of it. Like I said, I'm just trying to go up there and stay with my approach.
"I've felt good at the plate last year, earlier this year for a while. But sometimes it's just a matter of where you hit it. You can hit the ball hard, feel great, but still get outs. Or you can be 5-for-5 with five bloop hits and still feel terrible out at the plate."