CLEVELAND -- Engel Beltre started for the second straight game in left field on Saturday night for the Rangers against the Indians. David Murphy was on the bench even though the Indians had a right-hander on the mound.
"[Murphy will] be back in there tomorrow," manager Ron Washington said. "I just wanted to give Beltre back-to-back days. I haven't done that since he's been up here."
There are other reasons to get Beltre in there. The Rangers may need him for an extended period if Nelson Cruz is suspended for his alleged involvement with Biogenesis, or he could be trade bait leading up to Wednesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Rangers, after their trade for pitcher Matt Garza, are thin on prospects at the upper levels of the farm system. Beltre and infielder Leury Garcia are the closest to being able to help another team right now.
Murphy did play on Friday night. He pinch-hit late in the game and was 1-for-2 with a single. He is 9-for-28 in his last 10 games. Beltre was 1-for-6 on Friday with a key RBI single in the seventh inning. But he also got thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double.
"I told him he can't be running all crazy," Washington said. "He has to run with his head up and be ready to react to something. His answer was, 'Yeah, it wasn't very smart.' You've got to play smart baseball and be aware of what's going on in the game and where you are at."
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.Less