ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have locked down that elusive last spot in the lineup during the final week of the season. Craig Gentry is playing every day in left field regardless of who is on the mound, leaving David Murphy and Jeff Baker to platoon at designated hitter.
"He has been greatly needed," manager Ron Washington said. "He has been the spark that we've been looking for. He's done a tremendous job defensively, he's making things happen on the basepaths and he's putting together good at-bats. I hope it continues."
Gentry went into Friday's game against the Angels with 12 hits in his last 25 at-bats over seven games. The Rangers were 6-1 in those games. He also has seven stolen bases and six runs scored. He started in left on Thursday night and threw out Howie Kendrick trying to score from second on a single in the fifth inning.
"I'm trying," Gentry said. "It's so important right now to do what we can do to scratch out a win. I'm doing whatever I can to help this team. Every game is crucial. We have to win."
While Gentry has been a part-time player, he has still been an integral part of the Rangers' success the past three years and has experience in big games. He is 5-for-17 (.294) in the postseason.
"I think it absolutely helps getting that experience on the big stage," Gentry said. "You definitely feel a lot of pressure from the outside, and it's easier to handle it because you have that experience. You can relax and play with confidence."
Gentry also has 21 stolen bases. He is the only player in club history to steal at least 20 bases in the season while having fewer than 250 at-bats.
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.