Washington putting best defense forward

Washington putting best defense forward

Washington putting best defense forward
ARLINGTON -- Friday night marked the third time on the homestand that manager Ron Washington replaced Michael Young with Mitch Moreland in the field in the ninth inning. The Rangers had the lead in all three games but the Royals tied it in the ninth on Friday. That left Young on the bench for five innings when the game went into extra innings.

But Washington said that he was following a maxim used by Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog and others, that you do everything you can to win the game in nine innings.

"I was defending the last three outs of the game," Washington said. "Ninth inning, one-run lead, I'm defending the lead. Mitch is our first baseman. Michael is still adjusting over there. I put our best defensive team on the field."

Washington's moves went beyond replacing Young with Moreland. With Josh Hamilton limited to designated hitter duties, Moreland has had to play right field so Young could be at first. The Rangers also had David Murphy in center and Nelson Cruz in left.

Washington inserted Craig Gentry into center, moved Murphy to left, Cruz to right and Moreland to first base. Gentry is the Rangers best defensive outfielder so Washington got a premium defender in center. Murphy was an upgrade over Moreland on the flank and Moreland moved to first.

"I improved myself in three different spots," Washington said.

Gentry reinforced the manager's decision by making a tremendous jumping catch against the wall in right-center, taking a run-scoring double away from Billy Butler to end the 12th.