Washington wants Smoak to adjust

Washington wants Smoak to adjust

ARLINGTON -- Rangers first baseman Justin Smoak went hitless in the Rangers' three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, despite making good contact and hitting the ball hard.

But that's not going to be good enough for Rangers manager Ron Washington.

"I don't see it the way you see it. You just can't keep sitting around here talking about hitting the ball hard and not getting any luck. Justin is holding his own, and we'll just leave it at that," Washington said.

Smoak was hitless in four at-bats on Friday while batting in the eighth spot, something Washington says is because of the presence of David Murphy and Bengie Molina in the lineup. But that's not going to change how teams pitch to him, according to Washington.

"Will he get any different pitches? Scouts are going to do the same thing," Washington said. "Teams are going to do the same thing, and he has to make the adjustments. I can hit him ninth and he's going to have to make adjustments. I could hit him leadoff and he'll have to do the same thing. He has to make adjustments."

Despite that, Washington still understands the struggles rookies often encounter and doesn't credit Smoak's slump entirely to him.

"They don't come as quick as a veteran guy would make them. But he's conscious of it," Washington said. "Also, in his defense, they've been making some good pitches. Breaking balls down and in. They've been making some good pitches."