Washington keeps searching for best lineup

July, 29, 2013
7/29/13
5:23
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington reshuffled his lineup yet again for Monday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels, this time putting Leonys Martin in the leadoff spot and batting Ian Kinsler third.

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Also, Nelson Cruz is hitting sixth and Mitch Moreland was moved down to the No. 9 spot.

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With a team that hasn't scored in 21 innings and that has been shut out in two straight games -- and one that is facing Los Angeles Angels ace Jered Weaver on Monday night -- Washington is willing to try just about anything.

"I'm not sure if I'm going to let it stay like that, but I'll try it," Washington said. "See if it makes a difference."

Martin becomes the Rangers' fourth leadoff hitter this season and will bat there for the first time in his young major league career. Kinsler will bat third for the third time.

Only the cleanup spot has had less turnover than the leadoff spot this season with Adrian Beltre staying put. Cruz has filled in for him for 11 games when the Rangers' third baseman was injured.

The Martin experiment could be a brief one. But he was projected by Rangers' scouts as a top-of-the-lineup type of hitter, so you never know ...

"I don't know what he's ready for, but we're going to find out," Washington said. "That's why I put him out there tonight to see what he's got to offer, to see if he makes a difference. It's a learning process for him. We'll see what happens."

Martin is batting .277 for the season, but has slumped like the rest of the Rangers' lineup, hitting .182 over his last 11 games.

The Rangers are rumored to be in the market for another bat or two, but no deal is imminent. So Washington may have to figure out the right combination for his lineup with his current roster.

Washington stood by his players Monday, saying he believes they can break out of a 15-game funk that has seen the Rangers score three or fewer runs 10 times.

"What we've been doing can't be what we're about," Washington said. "We just have to figure it's something that is happening right now that we have to work our way out of."

Scheppers speaks on Cleveland: The Rangers and Tanner Scheppers stood by the club's original version of what happened on the streets of Clevelend some time Thursday night when the reliever, from out of nowhere, was punched to the ground by a group of young men. Scheppers was not robbed.

The Rangers did say that catcher A.J. Pierzynski and closer Joe Nathan were with Scheppers at the time of the altercation. That part was left out by Scheppers in his original story -- it was later reported by multiple media outlets -- because he wanted to protect his teammates.

"Initially I didn't say that just because I felt like it wasn't a big deal and I didn't really want to involve them," Scheppers said. "That's basically it. They were there with me, so they know know what happened."

Scheppers was asked if Pierzynski or Nathan helped him.

"They mostly just picked me up off the floor," Scheppers said.

Washington was asked before Monday's game if the Scheppers case was closed.

"It's safe to say," Washington said.

Lewis pushes forward: Right-hander Colby Lewis will have one last rehab start Saturday for Double-A Frisco, that after his best outing of his rehab assignment so far on Sunday.

Lewis will throw 90 pitches for Frisco on Saturday in a home game against San Antonio, then could be ready to help the Rangers.

Lewis allowed three runs on five hits against San Antonio, finishing with five strikeouts and no walks. He threw 71 pitches, 52 of them for strikes. He did allow a home run.

A mechanical change he made with his fastball delivery helped, Lewis said.

"I'm definitely locating my fastball better and I was sharp with my slider," Lewis said. "I was able to stay behind my fastball and keep it true."

Washington closes in: Washington starts the series against the Angels with 576 career wins, five shy of Bobby Valentine's Rangers record of 581 wins.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.325 14 53 52
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 14
RBIA. Beltre 53
RA. Beltre 52
OPSA. Beltre .889
WY. Darvish 9
ERAY. Darvish 2.88
SOY. Darvish 154