Texas sluggers expected back Monday

PHILADELPHIA -- It looks like two Texas Rangers sluggers will return from the disabled list Monday.

If all goes well with their final rehab starts Sunday in Round Rock, the Rangers likely will play reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz in Monday night's series opener against the Chicago White Sox.

"If they make it out of there healthy and everything goes well today, they'll be back in Texas," Rangers manager Ron Washington said Sunday morning before Game 3 of the series with the Philadelphia Phillies.

In two games, Cruz is 4-for-8 with two home runs and Hamilton is 2-for-7 with a home run and a double. Both players homered Saturday night.

The Rangers are 14-21 minus Hamilton and 7-9 with Cruz out of the lineup.

Hamilton has been on the DL since April 13 after breaking a bone in his right shoulder while sliding head first into home at Detroit on April 12. He was expected to miss at least two months, but his progress has gone smoother than expected. On the season, Hamilton is hitting .333 with seven RBIs but has yet to hit a home run.

Cruz strained a right quad muscle May 3 at Seattle and was placed on the DL a few days later. Despite seven home runs and 18 RBIs, Cruz is hitting just .219 and the Rangers wanted to make sure he was able to get his timing down before returning to the big leagues.

The Rangers would have to make two roster moves to accommodate them.

Craig Gentry, Chris Davis, Taylor Teagarden and Endy Chavez are the possible candidates to get taken off the big league roster.

Washington likes to have three catchers, but is open to possibly losing Teagarden. Chavez, after a slow start, has come on strong of late, hitting .533 on this seven-game road trip. But he's been hampered by a right hamstring strain the last three days. Gentry has started the last seven games in center field and has reached base in five of his last six games.

Davis, who didn't play in Saturday night's loss to the Phillies, homered Thursday night in his first career start batting in the cleanup spot.

Calvin Watkins is a reporter and columnist for ESPNDallas.com.