Nelson Cruz will come off DL Monday

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Fresh from a three-game rehab assignment, Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz was back in the clubhouse Sunday morning and was scheduled to be in right field Monday for the start of a 10-game road trip in Kansas City.

"I feel good,'' Cruz said. "I was able to run the bases, go first to third, and I got to see some pitches.''

In his tune-up at Double-A Frisco, Cruz went 4-for-11 with a double, a walk, an RBI and a stolen base.

The Rangers moved Cruz to the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 16 with a left hamstring strain. He had previous stints on the DL on April 27 (right hamstring) and May 30 (left hamstring).

When healthy, he's been a force, hitting .320 with 16 home runs, 64 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 77 games.

"Getting him back in the lineup gives us another threat and it also gives Vladdy a little protection,'' Washington said.

Jorge Cantu, batting fifth behind Vladimir Guerrero the last two games, is hitting .226 in 53 at-bats and is still looking for his first RBI as a Ranger.

Cruz says he is much further along this time than in his previous returns from the DL, when he started slowly.

"I hope he comes back fired up and ready to go,'' Washington said.