ST. LOUIS -- Nelson Cruz tested his strained right groin muscle in batting practice and proclaimed himself ready to play Game 7 of the World Series on Friday. He was in the Rangers' starting lineup.
"It's good enough," Cruz said. "It's not normal but it's good enough to play. I'm playing."
Cruz had to come out of Game 6 in the 11th inning with the injury.
Rangers manager Ron Washington had a second lineup ready that had Craig Gentry playing center field. The Cardinals started right-hander Chris Carpenter, but Washington wanted Gentry over Endy Chavez, a left-handed hitter, because of his defense.
Catcher Mike Napoli was also in the lineup after rolling his left ankle in the fourth inning of Game 6. He stayed in the lineup for the entire game and was able to control the swelling over night.
"He's a gamer," Washington said. "He's in the lineup. He iced it down and did whatever he needed to do to get it ready."
Napoli was more to the point.
"It's going to have to hold up," he said.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.