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Wash's Wisdom: Sticking with Geovany Soto

4/16/2013

Rangers manager Ron Washington had a few moments in the last week where he had an option to go to the bench in a pivotal run-scoring situation. He chose to stick with the player in the game.

The first instance came in last Wednesday's 2-0 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays. With the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning and Mitch Moreland coming up against left-handed reliever Cesar Ramos, Washington had switch hitter Lance Berkman available to pinch hit.

Berkman had been give the day off and Washington wanted it to be a full one. Washington stuck with Moreland, who grounded into a double play to end the rally.

Washington again had a chance to go to his bench in the eighth inning of Sunday's 4-3 loss at Seattle. This time he had backup catcher Geovany Soto coming up.

David Murphy had a two-out single, moving Adrian Beltre to third base. With left-handed reliever Oliver Perez in for Seattle and right-handed closer Tom Wilhelmsen warming up, Washington had the option of going to Ian Kinsler on his bench; or if Wilhelmsen came in, starting catching A.J. Pierzynski was available.

Washington stuck with Soto, who had a good at-bat, seeing eight pitches. And Soto had reached base in all of four of his chances against Perez. But his popup to right field was caught easily for the third out and the Rangers didn't score.

We'll never know what would have happened with Kinsler or Pierzynski at the plate.

Garcia shines: Washington decided to give utility man Leury Garcia back-to-back starts over the weekend at shortstop and second base. Garcia made Washington look good. He made one spectacular play and two other dazzlers at shortstop Saturday. Garcia also had a single and scored a run. Playing second base Sunday, Garcia had a triple and scored a run.

Leaning on Ortiz: Washington trusted 22-year-old rookie Joe Ortiz in two key spots last week against Seattle out of the bullpen, and the left-hander won the first two decisions of his career. He pitched two shutout innings in both outings. Ortiz has 1.04 ERA and six strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings.