Saturday, April 7, 2012
Pregame buzz: Outfield alignment talk
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers manager Ron Washington knew he wanted Craig Gentry and Josh Hamilton in the outfield with Texas protecting a one-run lead in the final few innings.
But it was Hamilton and Gentry that decided who played where Friday. And that was just fine with the manager. Hamilton told Washington that Gentry was more comfortable in center and that he had no problem playing left. That's what happened as the Rangers won, 3-2.
"I said, 'Thanks, Hamilton. I love you,'" Washington said. "I wasn't going to move Hamilton out of center field. I'm glad he made the decision; he and Gentry."
Washington said he was pleased that Hamilton and Gentry took it upon themselves to make sure they were comfortable where they were. He wanted both of them in the outfield and didn't feel strongly enough about where they were positioned to alter what they discussed.
"I'm not going to overrule my players when they think something is best," Washington said. "They thought that was best. I love them for it."
Washington added that he wants his players in positions where they are most comfortable when that's possible. And that was the case with Gentry and Hamilton on Friday.
Washington said Gentry and Hamilton will probably be in the game late with a slim lead when Murphy starts, as long as Murphy doesn't have an at-bat coming up.
"If we go into the eighth and Murphy has already hit, I'm going to go with the defense," Washington said. "If Murphy still has an at-bat, I'll let him hit and then pinch-run with Gentry."
* Washington wants to try to get every player involved in the game in the first week, if possible. That doesn't mean every player will start, but bench players will get in the game when Washington feels like he can make it happen.
"Everyone can get the jitters out, the butterflies out," Washington said. "When I came to the big leagues, I remember every year the manager got me in the game at some point the first week. I might have sat for another two weeks, but I got in there the first week. It's important for every guy that's here to at least get out there and get a feel."
* Elvis Andrus bunted on his own in the first. Washington said he was giving Andrus a chance to get the runner to third by hitting to the right side, but Andrus decided the best way to do that was bunting.
"What a team player," Washington said. "When you're facing a [John] Danks, a Cliff Lee, a Roy Halladay, the best in the business, when you're facing those kind of guys, I'm all for it."
* Washington said he's comfortable going consecutive days with any of the three relievers he used on Friday -- Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan. He wanted to be sure they lined up in the opener with the game on the line and by pitching all three, they are ready for today because none of them pitched more than one inning.
* The Rangers get their rings tonight for winning the AL for a second straight year.
"Not winning the World Series doesn't dampen what that ring represents," Washington said. "We're still champions."