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Rangers activate outfielder Cruz from DL

Rangers activate outfielder Cruz from DL

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers activated outfielder Nelson Cruz off the disabled list, giving manager Ron Washington six players who can play either in the outfield or at designated hitter on a given night.

Pitcher Guillermo Moscoso was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for Cruz.

Cruz went immediately into the lineup on Thursday, starting in right field. Josh Hamilton, who had been playing right, shifted to center and Marlon Byrd was in left. Julio Borbon, who took a .464 batting average into Thursday's game, was used at designated hitter. Andruw Jones and David Murphy were on the bench.

"It gives us an opportunity to give some of these guys some rest and get their second wind for the second half," Washington said.

Washington said he will mainly use a rotation of Byrd, Hamilton, Murphy and Cruz in the outfield. Borbon will also play out there on occasion.

"But it won't be as often as those four," Washington said.

Washington suggested there is a possibility that Jones and Borbon could platoon at designated hitter. Borbon figures to be in the No. 1 spot in the lineup at least on nights when the Rangers face right-handed pitcher.

Jones is unlikely to get much time in the outfield -- if at all -- but he has been working out at first base. If he can play first base, the Rangers could use his right-handed bat against tough left-handers and give Hank Blalock a day off.

Jones, who hasn't played the outfield since July 19, has made one start at first base this season on May 22 in Houston in an Interleague game. He has been working out at first base lately and could get a start there on Friday night against Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir.

"It's serious," Washington said. "If I decide to give Hank a day off, I'll put him out there."

Blalock, including Thursday night, has started 40 straight games at first base since Chris Davis was sent down on July 5. Nobody else has played first base in that time.

Byrd has been on the field even longer. He hasn't had a day off since June 21. He went into Thursday's game having played in 109 games with 412 at-bats. He played in 109 games with 414 at-bats for the Rangers in 2007 and 122 games with 403 at-bats for them last year. He had a career-high 135 games and 494 at-bats as a rookie with the Phillies in 2003.

Byrd still went into Thursday hitting .305 in his past 27 games, including an 11-game hitting streak that was snapped on Tuesday night.

Jones has struggled the most of any outfielder. He is 7-for-45 (.156) in his past 14 games and .192 in his past 57 games going back to May 9. He hasn't hit a home run since July 29 against the Tigers.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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