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Cruz in the third spot, but not permanently

Cruz in the third spot, but not permanently

Cruz in the third spot, but not permanently play video for Cruz in the third spot, but not permanently

ST. LOUIS -- Nelson Cruz was back in the No. 3 spot in the lineup on Saturday night, but Rangers manager Ron Washington is not ready to declare it his permanent spot. Washington suggested there is a possibility Lance Berkman could end up back in the No. 3 spot when he's healthy, hot and back in the lineup.

Cruz is hitting there now because the Rangers are playing in a National League city and there is no designated hitter being used. Berkman is available as a pinch-hitter, but he won't be in the lineup after receiving a cortisone shot in his surgically repaired right knee on Thursday. Berkman will be back in the lineup on Tuesday when the Rangers open a three-game series against the Yankees in New York. He may not return to the No. 3 spot immediately, but Washington still likes him there because he draws walks and is a switch-hitter.

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Cruz has had some success in the No. 3 spot, going 7-for-18 with seven RBIs in the past five games. He usually hits fifth or sixth in the lineup.

"It just depends on what's best," Washington said. "Nelson's doing a good job and I know he can handle it. It just depends on what's best."

Cruz was 2-for-5 with three RBIs in the Rangers' 6-4 victory over the Cardinals on Friday night. His two-run single broke a 4-4 tie in the ninth inning and allowed the Rangers to win in their first appearance at Busch Stadium since the 2011 World Series.

"It was a little bit special, but it's just a game," Cruz said, before hitting a go-ahead two-run homer in Saturday's 4-2 victory. "Getting an RBI in any ballpark is special because we want to win. We're on a pretty good run right now and playing well."

As far as batting third, Cruz is not trying to make a big deal out of it.

"I guess it means better situations and getting more runners on base in front of me," Cruz said. "That's the only difference I see. I think you focus differently when you've got men on base."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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