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Friday, October 15, 2010
Two lefties gives Ron Washington options

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said the front office staff and the coaches talked Thursday night and Friday morning about the roster decisions before deciding to go with both lefties Clay Rapada and Michael Kirkman.

Washington said the club wanted the lefties to counter the Yankees' left-handed and switch hitters.

It gives Washington a chance to use Rapada, a situational lefty, against a left-handed hitter like Robinson Cano earlier in the game (like the fifth or sixth inning) and still have some additional left-handed options if needed later in the game. Rapada is not likely to face a switch hitter. He'll be used to get that tough left-handed hitter when Washington feels like he needs him.

Kirkman can get both right-handers and left-handers, so Washington also has an opportunity to save Darren O'Day to use later in the game if needed, like the eighth inning rather than the sixth or seventh. That could become important in how Washington matches things up late in games without the services of hard-throwing right-hander Frank Francisco, who is injured and would normally pitch the eighth.

Keep an eye on that bullpen. A Rapada vs. Cano at-bat in the second half of the game could be very interesting.