FRISCO, Texas -- After batting .333 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in May, Double-A Frisco's Mike Olt was named the Rangers' Minor League Player of the Month. He's well on his way toward earning the honor in June.Olt began this month with three straight two-homer games, and he is batting .413 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs in June. He has posted a .509 on-base percentage and a .957 slugging percentage through 12 games this month. "The streak that I did, I had never had anything like that before," Olt said. "As a hitter, everyone knows you go through ups and downs, so when you go through something like that, you just want to keep going with it." The last time Olt can remember being as locked in as he is now was when he was a junior at Connecticut. After hitting 21 home runs in his first two seasons with the Huskies, Olt blasted 23 as a junior while batting .318 and driving in 76 runs. Olt recalls not getting off to a hot start that year, however, and experienced something similar this season. The 23-year-old third baseman batted .250 with 13 RBIs, striking out 30 times and drawing 14 walks before beginning his May tear. "Back in college, my junior year, I started off really slow and put a lot of pressure on myself," Olt said. "The big thing that I changed, and it took me a while to trust it, was to trust my approach. I always went up there in the first month or two with a lot of things going through my head. ... Now I'm back to just having fun out there." Despite batting .413 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs in his last 20 games, Olt still finds room to improve. "My plate discipline," Olt said. "There's times when I get to the plate and there's a chance for them to pitch around me a little bit. That's when I tend to get a little aggressive and come out of my approach. I just have to let that happen and let them pitch around me and take the walk."
Cruz feeling better, but sits out third straight
ARLINGTON -- Despite feeling fully recovered from an injured Achilles tendon and a fever, Nelson Cruz was out of the lineup for the third straight game Wednesday."He's looking better," manager Ron Washington said. "He can pinch-hit. But I'm not going to put him out there in a ballgame after the way he looked yesterday. So he'll get one more day. He's OK. But I'm going to give him one more day." Cruz came out of Saturday's loss to the Giants with a sore right Achilles tendon, and he singled in his only at-bat as a pinch-hitter in Sunday's win. But the outfielder, who fell under the weather with a fever before Tuesday's series opener vs. the D-backs, did not start Wednesday. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, striking out on three pitches in his only at-bat. "I feel good. I feel kind of sore, but I feel like I can play," Cruz said. "I fell asleep the night before and I got up at about 2 in the morning with a fever, so I went to the doctor. Since yesterday, I don't feel a fever." Brandon Snyder made his first start of the season in right field and batted eighth on Wednesday. In each of the last two games, David Murphy had replaced Cruz -- who is batting .302 with six home runs and 23 RBIs in his last 31 games -- in right field. Washington said he considered playing Josh Hamilton in right, but went with Snyder, who has started games at first base, third base, left field and designated hitter this season. He can also catch. "I throw from the outfield every day," Snyder said. "Because I play a lot of different positions, there's a lot of different arm angles. First is different than third. It's obviously different at catcher. Then you go in the outfield and it's trying to find that happy medium to throw from." "Brandon has been great," Washington said. "Compared to what we saw in Spring Training and right now, he's come a long ways."
Young most underrated, according to survey
ARLINGTON -- According to a survey conducted by Men's Journal magazine, who polled 100 Major Leaguers, Michael Young is baseball's most underrated player."He is," Rangers teammate Mike Napoli said. "He's a great baseball player and I don't think he gets enough credit. He's a true professional and a great teammate. Everything he does in the game of baseball is pretty awesome." Young, who was also named to Texas' 40th Anniversary All-Time Team at both second base and shortstop, is a career .303 hitter with 172 home runs and 941 RBIs. All 2,131 of his career hits have come with the Rangers over more than 12 seasons, making him the team's all-time hits leader. "I take it as a great compliment," Young said. "Any time my peers say anything positive about me, it's a humbling thing. I've gone to All-Star Games by being voted in by my peers. Not one day goes by that I don't think about how fortunate I am to play with the guys in this clubhouse and guys across the way. I've played against guys I have a lot of respect for." Young is batting .338 over his last 16 games, including seven multi-hit games. He is batting .286 with three home runs, 24 RBIs and 28 runs scored in 59 games this season. Young has made just one error while starting 11 games at third base, 10 at first base and six at second, along with 32 as designated hitter.
Roomates leading the way at Frisco
FRISCO, Texas -- The Texas League home run and RBI leader, along with the league's wins and ERA leaders, all live under one roof.Double-A Frisco pitchers Barret Loux and Justin Grimm are roommates with fellow RoughRiders third baseman Mike Olt and first baseman Chris McGuiness. Loux, who has yet to lose this year, leads all professional pitchers with 11 wins. Grimm leads the Texas League with a 1.87 ERA, while Olt has hit 19 home runs and driven in 55 runs, both figures that lead the league. "It's pretty crazy how that works out," Grimm said. "There's a lot of talent in there. We talk a lot. It makes it a lot better. It's loose around the house. It's not uptight or anything." Together, they have Frisco looking to capture their second Texas League South division title in three years. The RoughRiders hold a 4 1/2-game lead over the Corpus Christi Hooks, who begin a four-game series against Frisco on Thursday. Frisco's lead over Midland was cut to five games after falling to the RockHounds, 5-2, on Wednesday afternoon. The RoughRiders have not trailed in the division standings this year. "When you're winning in baseball, it makes it a lot more fun," Grimm said. "I've been on losing teams before, and it's a long and miserable season. You show up to the field with a lot more energy when you're winning. It's always fun to clinch, too." Grimm has done his part this year, going 8-3 while striking out 67 batters and walking only 14. He has turned in quality starts in each of his last four outings, going 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA, 22 strikeouts and three walks during that stretch. In his most recent start last Sunday, Grimm had a consecutive scoreless-inning streak snapped at 25. "To be honest with you, I kind of shied away from my changeup," Grimm said. "I wouldn't say I lost it, but it's not as consistent as my fasball. Fastball command, that's my go-to thing right now. That's what makes me good. A little bit of a breaking ball here and there, too."
The Rangers have yet to name a starter for Saturday's game against the Astros. When asked about the decision, manager Ron Washington said, "We haven't decided yet. We could wait until Saturday."
Triple-A Round Rock outfielder Julio Borbon extended his hit streak to 21 games Tuesday, going 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Borbon is batting .430 during the streak, and if he extends it to 22 Wednesday, he will tie a team record set by Yangervis Solarte earlier this season.
Colby Lewis improved to 5-5 with a four-hitter in the Rangers' 9-1 win over the D-backs in Tuesday's series opener. Lewis, who has a 3.13 ERA this year, has the lowest ERA of any American League pitcher who has made at least five starts and does not have a winning record.
Craig Gentry is batting .529 over his last seven games, five of which he has started, including a 5-for-5 performance in Friday's win over the Giants. Washington won't make him an everyday player but said, "We certainly have been having to push him into more action. He's handled it well. He's got some big hits for us, made some good defensive plays, running the bases, using his skills."
Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.