Saturday, July 7, 2012
Buzz: Ron Washington shuffles lineup
By David Collier
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ron Washington is not known for making changes in his lineup, but he threw that strategy out the window Saturday with the Texas Rangers looking to snap a five-game losing streak in the second of three games with the Minnesota Twins.
The Rangers manager filled out the lineup twice, and the final one came out with Nelson Cruz in the No. 5 hole and Michael Young in the No. 6 hole.
The reshuffling took place after Washington discovered All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton would be OK to play. Hamilton left Friday's game with lower back spasms, but when Washington later found Hamilton, he was swinging in the cages and gave his manager the green light to pencil him in the lineup as the DH.
“It just happened," Washington said. "First, I made the lineup without Hamilton and had Cruz high. I ended up remaking it when Hamilton said he could play and Cruz came out of my pen after Beltre. So I just left it like that. We’ll see if it works.”
Washington said usually switching the lineup, even slightly, can spark an offense, but he's never had to deal with the struggles the Texas offense is currently having.
“It provides a spark when you’ve got guys in the lineup that are hitting," Washington said. "I don’t know what it’s going to do when they’re not hitting. All you’re doing is taking people that aren’t hitting and putting them at the top of the order and taking people that aren’t hitting and putting them at the bottom of the order. So what’s going to change?”
Nevertheless, he made the change, so we'll see what happens.
Young has been struggling as of late at the plate with runners in scoring position, and that's not usually a good thing for the No. 5 hitter. Young has not hit in the No. 6 spot in the lineup since June 12, 2003. He is 10-for-49 with runners in scoring position in his last 49 games.
In his last 24, Young is batting .209 (19-for-91).
Another unusual lineup decision Washington made was to put Craig Gentry in center field. With the Twins throwing RHP Samuel Deduno, Washington would normally go with a left-handed bat.
"He's hot," Washington said of Gentry. "I need someone in the lineup that can get on the bag."
So there you have it. Washington has gone against his usual tactics and shuffled the lineup. Now, we'll see if it works.
* Justin Grimm was optioned back to Double-A Frisco to make room for Derek Holland, who is making his first start off the disabled list Saturday. Grimm will start for the RoughRiders on Monday before heading to Triple-A Round Rock, which is currently on the All-Star break.
"It's just a matter of going down and continuing to learn," Grimm said. "I also picked up a new pitch (slider). You just can't be up here and overthrow at times."
* Washington noted the Rangers have made some plans for the pitching rotation for after the All-Star break, but they have yet to release those.
* Scott Feldman, who started Wednesday in Chicago, probably won't be available in the bullpen Saturday, according to Washington. He said Feldman could go in an emergency situation, but the Rangers would like to hold him for another day and have him ready to come in for a relief appearance if needed Sunday.
* The eight Rangers All-Stars will be honored before Saturday's game. They will receive their Majestic All-Star BP Tops in a pre-game ceremony, and Yu Darvish will be given an award for winning the American League All-Star Final Vote. Also, Matt Harrison will be acknowledged as the Rangers June pllayer of the month.
* The Texas coaching staff, All-Star players and Minnesota's Joe Mauer will all head to Kansas City following Sunday's series finale to get ready for All-Star festivities.
* The Rangers are celebrating 90's weekend at the ballpark. The team will be in 90's jerseys and the Rangers logo from that time is displayed on the grass behind home plate.