TORONTO -- Opposing managers are usually forced to get creative with their lineups when playing in Toronto because of the artificial turf, and for the Rangers, that's no exception.
Rangers skipper Ron Washington gave Nelson Cruz, who is battling a sore right hamstring, the day off for Friday's series opener in Toronto. Cruz also sat out Thursday's contest against the Yankees but entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.
Washington said Cruz would be available to enter as a defensive replacement or a pinch-hitter Friday.
"My intentions were to get him off this turf, anyway," Washington said. "I'm just not going to push him on this turf."
As a result of Cruz sitting, David Murphy got the start against left-hander, J.A. Happ.
Washington is also concerned about Adrian Beltre and penciled him in as the team's designated hitter.
"Beltre, last time we were up here, had a little bit of soreness in his hamstring and left out of here with hamstring trouble," Washington said. "I don't want that to happen with Nelson -- we need him."
Washington said both Cruz and Beltre could sit or DH for the final two games in Toronto, as well, and that he expects Josh Hamilton to start the entire series in the outfield.
Olt given start at third base against Blue Jays
TORONTO -- Mike Olt made his second career start at third base for Friday's series opener against the Blue Jays with Adrian Beltre serving as the Rangers' designated hitter.
Olt, whose natural position is third, has seen time at first base and made one start in right field since making his Major League debut on Aug. 2.
Having Olt playing positions other than third is not something manager Ron Washington considers ideal, but with a star-studded lineup, including Beltre at third, he has had to find ways to get Olt into the lineup.
"The outfield is not his position. ... [But] I will put him back in the outfield again," Washington said. "He's a third baseman playing outfield and first.
"He has held his own. We are trying to make him be something that he isn't. So now he's [going to have] growing pains. He is a natural third baseman that we brought up to the big leagues from Double-A playing first and the outfield."
Olt is glad to be back at third, but more importantly, he is just happy to be playing in the big leagues. He said his teammates have made the transition easy for him.
"There is no pressure to do anything," Olt said. "These guys, from top to bottom, we all can contribute, and that's the good thing about being on a good team."
Olt said Washington has already made him a better player and made him feel more comfortable at other positions besides third. Washington has helped with his infield defense, and Olt added that he tries to shag balls in the outfield each day to make sure he is ready when called upon.
"He's awesome, a winner, very smart," Olt said of Washington. "He has helped me pick up on little things that really made a huge difference with the way I field. He's just very knowledgeable. He's definitely a players' coach, and it is awesome to be with him."
Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.