Clubhouse notes: Wash talks Cruz

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nelson Cruz returned from the All-Star break with a vengeance.

The Rangers outfielder is hitting .438 since the break, with a .471 on-base percentage and only three strikeouts to 14 hits.

Manager Ron Washington said the reason for the hitter's breakout has been simple.

"Comfort. Rhythm," Washington said. "I think a few days off did him some good."

Cruz's average dropped to a season-low .298 after going 1-5 in a July 9 loss to Baltimore. Washington said he thought the frustration wore on the right fielder more than any physical ailment, despite Cruz's two trips to the 15-day DL this year with hamstring strains.

"I just think mentally, because he wasn't really doing what he capable of doing, sometimes the mental fatigue can make you look physically fatigued," Washington said. "It wasn't the physical part that did him some good, it was the mental part."

Despite the change in numbers, Cruz said he did not change anything about his approach since returning.

"I've had the same routine since spring training," Cruz said. "I just have confidence in what I've got, and good things will happen."

Other notes:

* Rangers' broadcaster Tom Grieve said he is honored to be inducted as the 13th member of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame, which will come on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. before the Rangers take on Los Angeles.

Grieve said he's received a lot of calls from former teammates and friends congratulating him on the honor. He's had a couple have some fun at his expense as well.

"A couple of my former teammates said, 'Well, you've finally lasted long enough to where they had to ask you in, huh?'" Grieve joked. "I said, 'Yeah, that's about right.'"

The former Rangers outfielder retired as a player in 1979 with a career .249 batting average, 65 home runs and 254 RBIs, before joining the Texas front office. He became the team's general manager in 1984 and held the position for 10 years.

Grieve, who played for Texas from 1972 to '77, was proud to go into the hall of fame for the team he's called his for most of his career.

"Since I graduated from high school the only other job I've had is a painter when I played in the Cape Cod League for two months," Grieve said. "Other than that, the only paycheck I've ever gotten has been for baseball, and most of them for the Rangers."

* The Rangers pitchers currently on the DL are making progress towards returning to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, though Rich Harden has pitched inconsistently in the minors so far.

Rich Harden made his first start with the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks Wednesday, lasting five innings while giving up seven hits and six earned runs, but also struck out nine with just just one walk. He will likely have at least one more start in Oklahoma City before the club makes a decision on what to do with Harden.

Washington said he didn't want to discuss what the team plans to do until he had talked to others in the organization, saying he was "a group guy."

* Derek Holland will be making his first rehab start for Oklahoma City tomorrow in Arizona. If everything goes well in that game, he will return to the Rangers.