Cruz scheduled for Friday return

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said outfielder Nelson Cruz (hamstring strain) is scheduled to return to the lineup Friday.

There had been previous indication he would be back Thursday.

Washington said the plan is to allow Cruz to play the outfield for full games with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday and Wednesday and then give him Thursday off while the Rangers face the Oakland Athletics in an afternoon affair. Cruz would then be activated in time for Friday's game at the Toronto Blue Jays.

Cruz was hitting .323 (20-for-62) with seven homers and 17 RBIs when he went on the disabled list April 27 with a strained right hamstring. He said last week that the hamstring felt better and he was ready to play.

When Cruz returns, it will be the first time this season that he and Ian Kinsler are in the lineup at the same time.

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.