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Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Surprise stuff: Joaquin Arias on the bases

By Richard Durrett

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Ron Washington and outfield coach Gary Pettis (who coaches base stealing) have talked to infielder Joaquin Arias the past few days about getting aggressive on the bases.

Arias is a leading  internal candidate for the utility infield job. If the club decides to keep that job in-house and it goes to Arias (he can play shortstop and that's a critical component to the job), he would be used in late-inning pinch-running situations. The club wants to be sure Arias has the confidence to perform well in that role, which includes a full understanding of how to run the bases and when to get aggressive.

In Monday's game, Arias tried to get aggressive and was thrown out on a pickoff/caught stealing. It was part of the learning process.

"He had decided that he was going to go on the first move and it just so happened that Barry Zito decided to go over there," Washington said. "We've still got to work on him trying to do it in better counts. The first time Barry went over there he went twice and he should have gone on the third one. If you notice, he had a great lead out there and was diving back in. It's just a matter of Gary getting into his head when to go and when not.

"He ran there, but it was more or less in a hit-and-run count and they can take a chance and throw over there and see if we're doing anything. If he had waited one more pitch, Barry probably would have gone to the plate."

Washington told Arias to take some chances, get aggressive and not worry about making mistakes.

"That's how you learn," Washington said.