Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington reiterated on Wednesday that he’s not benching veteran Michael Young. Washington was asked on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s Ben and Skin Show about Young, who has not had a day off since June 10 and is hitting .269 with three homers and 45 RBIs in 112 games.
“I plan to give Michael Young a day off, but as far as discussing benching Michael Young and all of this stuff, that’s not what’s on my mind,” Washington said. “I feel like for the past 11 years he’s been a devoted baseball player to the Texas community and now that he’s struggling a little bit, we’re going to jump off the ship? I’m not.”
Washington was asked if he’d consider playing rookie Mike Olt more. Olt is 3-for-10 with four RBIs in his short stint in the big leagues since getting called up on Aug. 1.
“We’re in a pennant race, so we’re trying to win ballgames and put the best team we have on the field,” Washington said. “Of course he’s not having the type of year that people are used to see Michael Young have. If you play this game long enough, there will be periods in your career where things don’t go the way you want them to go. So all of a sudden you take an about-face and throw him to the trash? Well, Ron Washington is not doing that.”
Washington said many factors go into how he chooses who plays on any given day beyond just statistics and matchups.
“You look at the personnel we have and the club I put out there, are the guys that are sitting on the bench, are they better than what I have out there?” Washington said. “It’s not only numbers on the field, it’s the presence, it’s how you make your teammates feel, the way the clubhouse is being run. We’re still in first place. We’re 18, 19 games above .500 and we’re talking of changes? He’s a young kid with potential and I’m going to get him as much playing time as I possibly can, but we’re in a pennant race.”
Washington said he lets a player’s career help him judge how long to stick by him.
“He has a track record,” Washington said. “That’s what I rely on. I rely on what a guy has done, how he handles failure and in failure, you teach other people how to handle failure. He’s helping other guys on this team understand how you go about your business when failing.”
Washington was asked on Ben & Skin about a few other topics:
* On why Craig Gentry hasn’t played much this month: “David Murphy is swinging the bat. We haven’t seen some lefties in a while and David Murphy is swinging the bat.” Washington said Gentry will still get time and is an important late-inning defensive replacement and a guy who can pinch-run. The club hasn’t faced a left-handed starter much this month, so once they do, look for Gentry to see more time.
* On the decision to bring Alexi Ogando into Tuesday’s game and Nick Swisher’s HR: “I’ll take the blame for this, I felt like velocity was something we could put on Swisher. He fouled off six or seven fastballs and the one he caught was high. In hindsight, I can look back and say, ‘All he had to do was slip a couple of sliders at Swisher and there would have been a difference.’ Well, he didn’t do that. I’d take Ogando in that situation right there.
“I do know the stress that Harry had earlier in the game and I was trying to try to put Ogando in a situation to get us outs in as simple a terms as I could. Ogando didn’t do the job. Since he didn’t do the job, it looks like a bad move. I was in a Catch-22. I made a decision. I take the blame for it.
* Could Jurickson Profar could come up and play three times a week (once for Kinsler, once for Andrus and once for Kinsler with Kinsler at DH and Young on bench).
Ben Rogers: “Am I out of my mind?”
Ron Washington: “Yeah. This kid played low A ball last year. He’s a talent. There’s no doubt about that. He’s experiencing right now what it’s like to have a full season at Double-A. Until we as the Texas Rangers make a decision that the kid is coming here, I think the speculation is way out of line. This kid should concentrate on playing baseball at Double-A and not reading that he’s coming to the major leagues.”
Washington said that Profar would be in those discussions, but he doesn’t want the youngster thinking about any of that.