Washington wants Byrd back in center in 2010
Rangers manager Ron Washington talked about his outfield at length before Saturday’s game against the Rays. Among Wahington’s thoughts:
* He wants Marlon Byrd back in 2010. Byrd is a free agent and the Rangers would like to re-sign him. He also wants to come back and has told the Rangers that. But it’s still uncertain if they will be able to re-sign him.
“I think it’s important for a lot of reasons,” Washington said. “He’s a very good defensive player, he’s a leader, he shows up and plays every day and he’s productive. I hope the organization does every thing they can to keep him.”
Byrd went into Saturday’s game hitting .280 with 17 home runs and 83 RBI, which is tied with Ian Kinsler for the most on the team.
* Washington said re-signing Byrd would allow the Rangers to move Josh Hamilton to a corner spot.
“Would that take some wear and tear off him?” Washington said. “Yeah. I’d like to have him in (either left or right). There is a lot of wear and tear in center field and that’s a big body. It would be easy to do as long as we have someone to play center. We were very fortunate to have Marlon.
“If Josh ends up as our center fielder, he’ll play. But if we can get somebody to take a load off him, we will.”
* Washington wants to get Julio Borbon time in center field before the season ends but is not sure if he’s ready to play out there every day. He still needs work with outfield coach Gary Pettis on getting jumps, reading the ball and running good routes.
“He’s made good progress in left field but center field is a different animal,” Washington said. “If we put him out there, we have to make sure he’s ready. We can’t let him start hurting our pitching.”
Borbon is expected to play Winter ball in the Dominican Republic this off-season.
* Nelson Cruz was out of the lineup on Saturday for the third straight game. Washington said Cruz will start on Sunday against left-hander David Price. Cruz is hitting .260 with a club-leading 32 home runs and 74 RBI but is hitting .146 with one home run and three RBI in his last 14 games.
“I thought he’s had a pretty good year,” Washington said. “I just think at the end he ran out of gas. He just found out some times you to learn to play the game with your mentality rather than your physical ability. There were periods when he was amazing and periods when he was not so amazing. But, for the most part, as a first-time full-timer, he did well.”
* The Rangers hottest outfielder down the stretch has been David Murphy. He went in Saturday’s game hitting .429 (9-for-21) in his last six games and .338 with four home runs and 14 RBI in his last 18 games. After starting the season with that 0-for-23 slump, Murphy is hitting .276 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI.
“I thought he grinded it out,” Washington said. “He got off to a terrible start but picked it up and has really been huge for us down the stretch. I played him against everybody and he wasn’t fazed.”