Rangers activate Nelson Cruz

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers activated outfielder Nelson Cruz on Tuesday, a little more than two weeks after he was placed on the disabled list with a Grade I strain of his left hamstring. But he did not play in Tuesday night's 10-4 win over Cleveland.

Manager Ron Washington said he plans on easing Cruz back into the lineup, likely as the designated hitter to start. For now, if Cruz pinch hits, Washington will insert a pinch runner for him if he gets a hit.

"I'm not taking a chance on 15 days and he's ready," Washington said before the game. "We've got time."

Washington wants to be sure Cruz is fully healthy for the final push toward the postseason and the playoffs, should the Rangers hang on to their AL West lead.

"I feel good, but I'm not 100 percent running," Cruz said. "I can help the team and I'm ready whenever they tell me."

Cruz is still ramping up and the club will take a conservative approach. Much like Adrian Beltre, who returned from a strained hamstring, the Rangers want Cruz to take it easy working his way into going full speed.

Cruz, who suffered the injury rounding first base on a double against the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 28, was hitting .270 with 28 homers and 84 RBIs when the injury occurred. At the time, he led the club in homers and was second in RBIs.

The 31-year-old has had four hamstring injuries in the last two seasons. He had three separate DL stints in 2010, two of them for left hamstring strains. He also missed a few weeks earlier this season with a strained right quadriceps muscle.

Whenever Cruz returns, it would give the club a full lineup of regulars for the first time since July 22, the day Beltre went out with a hamstring issue.

The Rangers also activated pitcher Darren O'Day. O'Day was placed on the DL Aug. 30 with right shoulder inflammation.

Washington said O'Day was "good to pitch. No physical restrictions."

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.