Pregame buzz: Wash sits 'struggling' Kinsler, Cruz

Ron Washington had a simple explanation for his decision to give both Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz the day off Thursday.

"They're both struggling right now, especially in this series," Washington said. "(I) gave them a day to catch their breath."

Veteran Michael Young is playing second base in place of Kinsler after getting the day off and rookie Mike Olt is making his first career start in right field.

Washington said both Kinsler and Cruz have looked "sluggish" at the plate.

"It just looks like the bat is a little heavy right now," Washington said of Kinsler. "I figure if I give him a day ... it'll get him rejuvenated."

Kinsler is hitless in his last 11 at-bats and has just one hit in his last 19.

Cruz is mired in an 0-for-15 skid and has just two hits in his last 21 at-bats.

Kinsler finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Wednesday. His frustration seemed to get the best of him in the eighth inning as he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Vic Carapazza.

At issue was Carapazza's called third strike on Kinsler. It was an inside strike which Kinsler thought was out of the strike zone. He was livid after Carapazza punched him out.

Another factor in Washington's decision to give both Kinsler and Cruz the day off is the Rangers' late night Wednesday. The players didn't leave Yankee Stadium until 1 AM EST due to the 1:45 rain delay before the game.

OLT IN OF: Rookie and Connecticut native Mike Olt will make his first major league start in the outfield Thursday. Olt played a handful of innings in the outfield at Double-A Frisco and has been working with Rangers coach Gary Pettis in both the infield and outfield since he was called up earlier this month.

"He looks like he can get the job done," Washington said.

Olt said he was comfortable in the outfield, thanks to drills with Pettis. He was also looking forward to dealing with the infamous crowd in right field at Yankee Stadium.

"I've heard all about them," he said with a smile.

MORELAND INJURY: Washington said Mitch Moreland's toe injury played a factor in his decision to put Moreland at first base over Olt.

"If I can keep Moreland out of the outfield, that's what I'm going to do," Washington said.

SOTO CATCHING: Geovany Soto will catch Thursday and on Friday night in Toronto. Luis Martinez will catch the day game in Toronto on Saturday.