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Monday, August 30, 2010
Notes: Figuring out the outfield rotation

By Richard Durrett

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said his lineup on Monday is not necessarily the one he'll go with all the time down the stretch.

But Washington conceded that he wanted run producers out there and that's why he inserted Nelson Cruz in right field -- and fifth in the lineup -- and put Julio Borbon on the bench. Cruz returns tonight from a 15-day disabled list stint.

Three main factors will go into Washington's thinking on the outfield rotation: whether he wants a more defensive setup or offensive one, if he wants to give Josh Hamilton a break from center field and move him to left and who the opposing pitcher is that night.

Borbon gives Washington the ability to get Hamilton out of center field and protect him a little more in the corners. And he feels that Hamilton-Borbon-Cruz is his best defensive outfield. But Murphy gives him a little more pop and the left-handed hitter has shown an ability to drive in runs against left-handed and right-handed pitchers.

Other notes:

* The Rangers have not yet decided what to do about the rotation following Thursday's off day. One possibility is that Derek Holland could replace Rich Harden in the rotation. Harden is scheduled to start Friday. The club does want to get its staff some additional time, utilizing the off day. It's expected that Cliff Lee would get at least one extra day, but others would also benefit depending on what the club does with that off day and the rotation spot.

* Borbon said he feels like he's played well in Cruz's absence.

"I'm glad he's back because he makes us better," Borbon said. "I'm going to prepare the same way and be ready to help this team in whatever way I can. I think mentally I'm better off and have figured out how to handle the physical aspect of it."

Washington said he saw a player more sure of himself.

"I think he has a good bit more confidence, made good contact and was solid defensively," Washington said. "He did some good things. He helped us win some games."

* Alex Cora said he feels like he's into the flow of things a little better now that he's played a few games. "I wasn't in the majors for a little while and those games in Oklahoma City helped, but this is the majors," Cora said. "The play is a crisper up here and the game moves fast."