ARLINGTON -- Wednesday's game against the Rays marks the last in a stretch of 20 games in 20 days, which is the longest a team can go without an off-day, as stipulated in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.Despite such a long stretch of games, manager Ron Washington feels the team is performing its best at just the right time. "Coming back here for these 10 days, the weather played a big part in it, [and] the fact that we've spent more time inside than we have the whole season has helped," Washington said. "They look fresh. I think the time of the year has a part in it, too. They've been through it before." Washington used the designated hitter slot to give everyday players a chance to rest during the span. Seven players served as DH more than twice, and only shortstop Elvis Andrus started more than 18 games in the field. "I knew I was in a 20-game [in 20 days] stretch, and I knew I could use the DH to get guys off their feet," Washington said. "We've been fortunate enough along this stretch. A couple of guys have come up with nagging injuries where they end up getting some time down." The team is no worse for the wear, as they are 12-7 entering Wednesday's contest. For the series finale against the Rays, Ian Kinsler is the DH, and Michael Young takes Kinsler's spot at second base.
Moreland's work on defense paying off
ARLINGTON -- Mitch Moreland stole the show with his glove in Tuesday's 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, twice making phenomenal plays to help preserve the shutout.In the fourth inning, he shuffled left to backhand a hard-hit ball by Jose Lobaton and made a strong throw to start an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. "He caught it off the bat," manager Ron Washington said. "To do what he did, he read it off the bat all the way. Some balls, the ball is already put in play before you react. He reacted to it totally off the bat." Moreland also made a slick stop in the eighth inning to keep the Rays off the scoreboard. Those two plays showed just how much Moreland has improved defensively at first base since last season. "I think he's come  degrees, because he's quicker on his feet, his reactions are better, and that's something he worked on in Spring Training, trying to be quick laterally," Washington said. "That was his weakness, going laterally."
Cruz good to go after being hit by pitch
ARLINGTON -- Nelson Cruz is in the lineup, batting fifth, and playing right field after leaving Tuesday's game with a contusion in his left elbow."He's going to go in the cage and see how he feels," manager Ron Washington said. "If I have to change it, then I'll just change it. But right now he's labeled to play." Cruz was hit by an inside changeup from James Shields but stayed in the game. He grounded out to the pitcher in his final at-bat, in the sixth inning, and was replaced on defense by Craig Gentry. "I feel good," Cruz said. "It's a little swollen, so I'm going to take a few swings and see how it feels. I told Wash I could play defense [on Tuesday], but I was sore swinging."
Rangers sending eight to Arizona Fall League
ARLINGTON -- The rosters for the Arizona Fall League were announced on Wednesday; the Rangers organization will send eight to play for the Surprise Saguaros.Pitchers Miguel De Los Santos, Jimmy Reyes, Ryan Rodebaugh and Ben Rowan will join catcher Kellin Deglan and infielders Leury Garcia, Chris McGuinness and Luis Sardinas in Surprise. Sardinas is the youngest player on any initial Fall League roster, at 19. He is batting .296/.352/.355 for the low Class A Hickory Crawdads entering Wednesday's action. The Saguaros will be managed by Jason Wood, the skipper of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Rangers' high Class A affiliate.
Tuesday's game was the 13th time in Rangers history that a solo home run was the only scoring in a 1-0 win, but just the second time at Rangers Ballpark. The Rangers are 23-13 against the American League East this season, the best mark of any AL team. The Rangers are 11-1-1 in their last 13 home series.
The Rangers have extended their player development agreement with the Hickory Crawdads through 2014.
Louie Horvath is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.