KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -The Texas Rangers are ready to give Marlon Byrd and Nelson Cruz extended tryouts in the outfield after trading Kenny Lofton back to Cleveland on Friday.
While Byrd had started 50 games for the Rangers, only six had been in center before the 40-year-old Lofton was traded for a minor league catcher. Cruz, who struggled earlier this season in Texas, was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma to fill the empty roster spot.
The Rangers are trying to determine if Byrd, hitting .350 through 200 at-bats going into Friday night's game at Kansas City, can be their everyday center fielder.
``He's done a great job. We're going to see what he can do every day in center field,'' manager Ron Washington said. ``Now we get a chance to see how he holds up every day going alley-to-alley. That is a tough position.''
Cruz, whom the Rangers got from Milwaukee as part of the six-player deal for Carlos Lee before the trading deadline last July, hit .352 with 15 homers and 45 RBIs in 45 games at Triple-A Oklahoma since June 5. He got sent down after hitting .188 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 42 games for Texas.
Byrd was one of the National League's top rookies in 2003 when he was the opening day center fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies and hit .303 in 135 games. But he hasn't played a full major league season, including this year when he didn't make the Rangers' 25-man roster out of spring training after signing as a free agent.
``I'm going to give it my all and play the way I know how to play,'' Byrd said. ``Either they are going to like it or they're not. I know if I play up to my capability I know they are going to be very satisfied.''
Washington plans to put Cruz in the starting lineup regularly in right field starting Saturday.
``His name is going to be in the lineup every day unless we decide he needs a day off. We've got to find out if Cruz is ready to play here,'' Washington said. ``We asked him to go down and make some adjustments and do some things and get back to where he is capable of getting. He did that. ... It's not a do-or-die, but he is certainly going to get an opportunity.''

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