Buzz: Washington has platoon team


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ron Washington has been known to use a platoon at various positions with the Texas Rangers over the years, and the suspension of Nelson Cruz opens up even more possibilities for the creative manager.

Washington said Monday he intends to utilize outfielders Joey Butler and Engel Beltre, who were called up from Triple-A Round Rock and joined the team for the three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels, against left-handers and right-handers, respectively.

"We'll try to use the whole roster and continue to play Texas Ranger baseball," Washington said.

Butler, 27, will be looking to make his major league debut after hitting .291 in his minor league career. He was not in the starting lineup Monday, but Washington said Butler would get his opportunities in Cruz's usual spot. Butler, who hit .321 (35-for-109) against left-handers this year, fielded balls off the right-field wall during warmups Monday.

"He's best in right field," Washington said. "That's where I'm going to use him against left-handers. He can be a big pinch hitter against left-handers."

Beltre, who hit .300 (9-for-30) in 13 games before being optioned to Round Rock on Friday, was slotted in the No. 9 spot Monday as the Rangers prepared to face right-hander Jerome Williams.

"He will sit against left-handers," Washington said of Beltre.

To make room for the extra outfielder, infielder Adam Rosales -- who was recently claimed off waivers from the Oakland Athletics but did not appear in a game in his three days on the roster -- was designated for assignment.

The outfield figures to be in constant shuffle while Cruz is gone. David Murphy will play both right and left, while Leonys Martin will be the primary center fielder "until I decide to give him a day off," Washington said. Craig Gentry will also get his looks, mostly against lefties, and even Jeff Baker could see time in the outfield when he's not switching off with Mitch Moreland at first base.

"I've just got a platoon team," Washington said, smiling.