Ron Washington On Rangers Outfield Situation “We feel like Julio [Borbon] will be our center-fielder”February 21, 2011 – 7:00 am by Steven Cuce
The defending American League Champion Texas Rangers come into the 2011 season knowing they are not the American League favorites to reach the World Series. It seems the media has proclaimed the Boston Red Sox as the team to beat due to the offseason acquisitions of Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Bobby Jenks just to name a few. That’s okay with Rangers skipper Ron Washington because he knows when it’s all said and done it’s about what place you finish at the end of the year not what you are proclaimed to be on paper in spring training.
Texas has a few issues coming into spring training including Michael Young’s role on the ball club and if he will be traded before the season. The Rangers are also looking for a change at lead-off hitter, moving Josh Hamilton over to left-field to spell him a little bit and also moving young closer Neftali Feliz into a starting rotation that lost Cliff Lee in the offseason. Ron Washington knows his team has their work cut out for them, but they are still the defending American League Champion and they look to keep it that way regardless of all the changes.
Ron Washington joined 105.3 the Fan in Dallas withNewy Scruggs to discuss the lack of respect the Texas Rangers are getting due to the fact that the Boston Red Sox are being proclaimed the American League favorites to make it to the World Series, how does he think Julio Borbon will improve this year and possibly play centerfield, who will be the lead-off hitter for the Rangers this season and who is the next option at closer if Neftali Feliz moves into the starting rotation.
How do you feel about the lack of respect the Rangers are getting amongst the media who put the Boston Red Sox as the favorite due to their offseason acquisitions?
“Well you know I’m only concerned about the Texas Rangers. You know we will certainly be prepared and we are certainly ready to defend our American League championship. One thing we’ve always been good at is handling things in-house and that’s what we intend on doing and the game is played in between the lines. Once we get started we’ll see when it’s all over where we stand.”
How do you think Julio Borbon will improve this year and help this club if plays the centerfield position over Josh Hamilton?
“Well I love Julio too and that’s why were giving him this opportunity. You know to go through what he went threw last year, to come out the gate and he went something like 0-for-25 before he got his first and to finish the season at .276 and you know to play an important role in helping us win that division and getting to the championship you know he deserves it. The Texas Rangers have always been an organization that gives young kids an opportunity and this is his opportunity. This is not his opportunity to where he should go in feeling pressure. This is an opportunity to come in and show what he has learned and what he has applied. We feel like Julio will be our center-fielder and you know one thing is for sure if that doesn’t work out we still have Josh Hamilton.”
Who will be the lead-off hitter?
“Umm right now you know it’s still in the air. You know I haven’t really decided. I don’t know if I want to move [Ian] Kinsler up there and move Elvis [Andrus] down or another way, but right now you know I haven’t discussed it with anyone, but it really could be a change and I haven’t sat down and decided what our lineup is yet until I get all my personnel in here.”
Who is the next option at closer if Neftali Feliz moves into the starting rotation?
“Well we do have some options down there you know. We got Mark Lowe, a guy we got from Seattle. We got [Alexi] Ogando in case as a matter of fact we’re going to be stretching out [Alexi] Ogando in the starting rotation too, but he’s a guy who could close at the end of the game also so you know we got some options. If we have to mix-and-match by committee we have that with Arthur Rhodes, Darren Oliver and [Darren] O’Day. We certainly have the arms down there that can get it done. It’s one thing that were not concerned about. We know one thing if it doesn’t work out in the situation we’re trying to put [Neftali] Feliz in we know he can close a ball game down, so you know we got depth and guys that can handle the end of the ball game. It’s nothing we have deep concern for.”