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Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Wash's wisdom: Sticking with the plan

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Each Tuesday, we'll briefly take a look at a decision or two made by manager Ron Washington over the past week. This week, we discuss the skipper's willingness to stick with his plan.

Specifically, the plan to go with Alexi Ogando in the seventh, Mike Adams in the eighth and Joe Nathan in the ninth in the first two games of the season.

Ogando came into the seventh inning on Opening Day and was masterful, getting three straight strikeouts. But rather than stick with Ogando, a starter for much of last year, for the eighth inning, Washington put Adams in for the eighth. It was an important message. Washington has confidence in Adams and wasn't going to deviate from his plan the first game of the season, no matter how well Ogando was throwing. Plus, he wants to keep Ogando fresh too so that he can use him as often as needed.

Washington went back to Ogando the next night and the pitcher needed just seven pitches to get through his inning. Still, he stuck with Adams, and Adams did the job (Nathan ended up giving up the winning run in the ninth).

"Those guys have their roles and that's how I wanted to do it," Washington said last week. "It lined up the way we wanted and there's no reason for me to change that."

Washington has preached since he got here about trusting in players, but also prodding them to do more when needed. He could have pulled Yu Darvish after five innings on Monday after the Japanese pitcher battled back from a rough start. But with his pitch count not yet a 100, Washington sent him back out. Darvish got a couple of outs before coming out of the game, but it was an important signal to Darvish and the team.

Washington believes in his players and their roles in specific situations. He's shown that the first handful of games.