Rangers GM: 'Not going to panic'
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels knows his team hasn't played well the past few weeks, but he doesn't believe in making major changes, either.
"We're just not playing real well," Daniels said before Tuesday's 7-2 win over Oakland. "We're not going to panic or overreact, but by the same token you don't want to bury your head in the sand. There's a number of reasons for it: the injuries, some guys for different reasons haven't gotten going, the bullpen we're trying to sort out roles.
"We're looking at a variety of things, whether that's somebody we can call up internally. But we don't want to knee-jerk and do anything irrational. At the end of the day, we believe in this group of guys and we might tweak it here or there, but this is the group we believe will get us through it and our expectations haven't changed."
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The Rangers have dropped out of first place in the AL West, going 5-11 since completing a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals on April 24. Prior to Monday's win, the Rangers had hit only .231 in the previous nine games.
Daniels said he's confident the offense will figure things out, helped by the eventual return of Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz. But when asked what he's most worried about, Daniels talked about the bullpen.
"I'm not picking on anybody in particular but the bullpen has been pretty inconsistent at this point," Daniels said. "We're going to talk about a varitey of things, whether it's guys internally, or some opportunities outside to improve. [Manager Ron Washington] has been great about putting guys out there and giving them an opportunity, you just want to see somebody seize it."
Right now, Washington has little choice but to keep running those young arms out there in pressure situations when needed. He'll ride his starters as much as he can to try to limit the exposure of some of those arms.
We're just not playing real well. We're not going to panic or overreact, but by the same token you don't want to bury your head in the sand.” -- Rangers GM Jon Daniels
"We're asking guys to step up," Daniels said. "That's the position we're in. It's necessitated by moves we've made and injuries. Last year, we asked a guy with two months experience to step in and close. We asked a guy last year who had been in the U.S. for a few months to play a meaningful role in the bullpen. You don't know how guys are going to handle it until you give them that chance. That's where we are right now."
Daniels knows his team must start to play better.
"You don't want to overreact, but we're all watching the same things," Daniels said. "The last couple of weeks we haven't played very good baseball. The games haven't been fun to watch. You don't want to ignore that. We're still in the mode of looking for a tweak here and there and the hot hand, rather than panicking and looking to change course."
One of those tweaks has been the lineup. Washington revamped the Rangers' lineup on Tuesday, shifting Ian Kinsler to the three-hole, moving Julio Borbon to leadoff, putting Michael Young at cleanup for the first time in his career, moving Mitch Moreland up to fifth and dropping Adrian Beltre to sixth.
Beltre broke a 4-for-31 slump with a two-run home run, and Young went 3-for-4 with a two-run triple vs. the A's on Tuesday night.
"It worked," Beltre said. "If that's going to work, I'll be happy to be hitting sixth."
It was the 29th different lineup in 37 games this season for Washington, who said he got the idea for this latest shakeup while watching a rerun of "Seinfeld" on Monday night.
"I don't make up the lineup. I just hope I'm going to be in there -- it doesn't matter where I hit," Beltre said. "The lineup worked, so we'll probably do it again."
"I'll see when I'm watching 'Seinfeld'," Washington said.
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.