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Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Notes: Cruz still at DH, works on timing

By Richard Durrett

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Outfielder Nelson Cruz may not play right field until the club returns home. It's possible he could play on Thursday afternoon, but manager Ron Washington wants to give him a few more days to not only keep ramping up his hamstring, but also let him fully concentrate on his timing.

"I got to get his bat going," Washington said. "And when I put him out there, he's got to at least give me seven innings. So I've got to give him more time to work."

Cruz is 1-for-10 with six strikeouts in three games -- two of those as the starting DH -- since being activated on Sept. 13. He was on the DL on Aug. 30 with a strained left hamstring.

"I ran before Sunday's game at probably 90 percent and it felt good," Cruz said about the hamstring. "It's been fine."

But he concedes that his timing remains off. He did some early work on Tuesday here at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and said he was working on curveballs and breaking pitches.

"It's going to take some time to get comfortable," Cruz said. "I'm working on it."

Other notes:

* Mitch Moreland has been forced to the bench with Cruz at DH.

"I'm not pulling Michael out of that lineup, so Mitch is the one that has to get a few days off," Washington said.

Moreland is hitless in his last nine at-bats and is 4-for-25 in his last seven games. He's hitting just .155 in his last 20 games.

"Mitch is at his best when he's in that line-drive mode," said Washington, who added Moreland's swing is getting a little bit big. "When he starts popping balls up, it's because he's trying to do too much. He needs to figure out how to get back to hitting line drives. When he does that, he'll be at his best."

* Washington said he believes the way the club has handled playing Josh Hamilton in left field for so much of the season has worked. Hamilton hasn't needed any shots in his knees and the wear and tear on his body has been less. He did benefit from having six weeks of rest on much of that body, but since returning from the injury he's been healthy and hasn't had many issues.

"It's had a tremendous desired effect," Washington said. "He's not running into walls. If I have to put him out at center field the rest of the way, I think he'll be fresher. I really do."