SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Rangers manager Ron Washington said it was “manager’s decision” to take Julio Borbon out of Friday’s game before his leadoff at-bat in the third inning.
Washington would not say why he pulled his center fielder, but it wasn’t because of the fly ball that Borbon short-hopped in center field. Borbon was late getting in the on-deck circle with two outs in the second inning. Before he could lead off the third, Borbon was taken out. When asked if that was the reason for Borbon’s removal from the game, Washington said: “No comment.”
“I thought it was time to make it a teachable moment,” Washington said.
When asked if Borbon learned the lesson, Washington shook his head up and down.
Washington said the decision doesn’t impact Borbon’s status with the club and that he would be in the lineup Saturday against the Cubs.
Borbon was not available for comment, getting on the bus to return to Surprise shortly after the game. He sat in the dugout for the duration of the game, staying even after the regulars headed to the clubhouse in the sixth inning.
Borbon, who has struggled defensively this spring and has five errors, started the game in center field and couldn’t get to a line drive in the twlight and had trouble in the first inning. With two outs and a runner at third, Troy Tulowitzki hit a liner to center. Borbon, 25, hesitated for a moment and by the time he started to come in, the ball short-hopped into his glove for a single.
“He said it was knuckling and he misjudged it coming in on it,” Washington said. “I’m glad he didn’t let it get by him.”
Borbon later made a routine catch in center in the second inning, but was pulled before he was set to lead off the third inning at the plate. David Murphy took his place in the lineup and in center.
Borbon wasn’t the only fielder that had difficulty on Friday. Josh Hamilton, playing left field, appeared to lose a fly ball in the lights. The ball dropped in for a triple, causing two runs to score with two outs in the first. Murphy also couldn’t get to a ball in shallow left-center.