Washington says Rangers are better off with Ponson gone
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Sidney Ponson might have been one of the Texas Rangers' most effective starters, but manager Ron Washington said Saturday his pitching staff will be better off without Ponson's abrasive personality.
Ponson was designated for assignment by the Rangers on Friday night for being what general manager Jon Daniels characterized as a disruptive presence despite his 4-1 record and 3.88 ERA.
"We'll survive," Washington said. "Did [Ponson's release] set the Minnesota Twins back? Did it set the Yankees back? He was pitching well ... but I don't miss him. The guy can pitch but it just didn't work out."
Last Wednesday night Ponson made a start against Cleveland on three days' rest for the first time in his 11-year career, and he reacted angrily when he was removed from the game after four innings. Ponson allowed six runs, four of them unearned because of three errors by his teammates, further fueling his anger. Cleveland went on to a 15-9 victory.
Ponson was scheduled to sit for six days before his next start, which also upset him, and Washington said Ponson came to the manager's office to "let me know about his displeasure."
Ponson has had a history of off-the-field problems, including two DUI arrests in 2004-05.
A report on the Rangers' official Web site said Ponson had been put on notice by Rangers officials after creating a disturbance at a hotel bar in Florida during a recent road trip. He had been informed that no other problems would be tolerated.
The Rangers, last in the majors with a team ERA of 5.10, are in need of starting pitching, which made the move to cut ties with Ponson so surprising.
Entering Saturday night's game against Tampa Bay, Texas starters had a 5.93 ERA in the previous 25 games. The Rangers have used nine different starters due to injuries this season, and will employ a 10th once they decide which minor leaguer will replace Ponson in the rotation during the upcoming six-game road trip that gets under way next Tuesday.
Four of Texas' original five rotation members having already spent time in the disabled list.
Texas has 10 days to trade, release or outright Ponson to the minors. If the Rangers are unable to work out a deal in that time frame, Ponson would become a free agent.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press