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Cruz's injury opens door for Murphy

Cruz's injury opens door for Murphy

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers loaded their lineup with right-handed bats with left-hander Mark Buehrle on the mound Tuesday night.

But it will be David Murphy who has to pick up the load now that Nelson Cruz is on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring muscle.

"He'll get most of the time against right-handed pitchers," manager Ron Washington said.

Cruz was placed on the disabled list before Tuesday's game with a strained right hamstring muscle and outfielder Craig Gentry was called up from Oklahoma City. The Rangers also considered Chad Tracy, but Gentry was already on the 40-man roster.

"Gentry has done a good job also," Washington said. "It was more or less because of the roster, but we've got good reports on Gentry. Plus, he can play all the outfield positions, so he does have value."

Gentry started in center field on Tuesday with Vladimir Guerrero in right and Ryan Garko at designated hitter. But that's because Buehrle was on the mound and they all hit right-handed. Murphy will be back in there on Wednesday and Thursday with right-handers Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd pitching for the White Sox.

"Nelson is irreplaceable after what he's done so far," Murphy said. "He's carried us on his back for a lot of the season. It's a huge loss."

Cruz is hitting .323 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs while leading the American League with a .758 slugging percentage. He started out the season as the Rangers fourth outfielder and had just one hit in his first 14 at-bats. But he went into Tuesday's game with four hits in his last 15 at-bats, including two doubles and a home run.

"I'm starting to feel better at the plate," Murphy said. "It's one of those things, more is less. The first weeks I was maybe not over-swinging, but the effort level was way up there. The last few games I've relax more, and the results have been there. I've squared up some balls and hit for some power."

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