HOUSTON -- Nelson Cruz had a planned day off Sunday. And with the idea to give two regulars a day off, manager Ron Washington went with second baseman Ian Kinsler, who had a tough Saturday with two errors on one play and 1-for-5 game at the plate that included leaving four runners on base.
Washington said that had nothing to do with Kinsler, who is batting .322 to lead the Rangers, being out of the lineup.
With Cruz off, Washington kept Craig Gentry in center field and started Leonys Martin in right field. Martin has the strongest arm of the Rangers outfielders, and Washington said for a center fielder it's easier to play right field because of the way the ball comes off a right-handed hitter's bat.
"The ball is better off the bat in that direction," Washington said. "It's an easier read. When you're in left field, you have to wait for the ball to come off the bat. You can read it a little faster in center and right."
Murphy in lineup: Left fielder David Murphy is in the starting lineup Sunday a day after he crashed into the Minute Maid Park scoreboard in left field, his tailbone crashing into the fence first.
Murphy took some swings Sunday morning, and while he said he's not 100 percent, he was ready to go. Murphy is on a season-high six-game hitting streak.
"I felt like I lost my legs for a minute," Murphy said of running into the fence. "I lost my balance and went tailbone first into the wall."
Pierzynski resumes throwing: Catcher A.J. Pierzynski resumed throwing Sunday and will begin hitting off a tee on Monday in Oakland as he continues to progress on schedule from his strained right oblique muscle.
Pierzynski hopes to begin taking batting practice on Thursday when the Rangers return home to face the Detroit Tigers. He is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, May 21, and Pierzynski said Sunday he'll be ready to go.
"I'll be ready when it's time to come off," Pierzynski said.
Nathan available: Closer Joe Nathan, who has pitched in back-to-back games, told Washington he was available to pitch Sunday. Nathan threw only 19 pitches while facing five batters in a hard-earned save as the Rangers held on for a 8-7 victory.
Perez has rough outing: Martin Perez had a rough second rehab start as he comes from a broken left wrist. Perez allowed eight earned runs for Double-A Frisco against Corpus Christi on Saturday night. He went 3 1/3 innings allowing nine hits and two walks. He threw 57 pitches and left with Frisco trailing 8-0.