SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After falling short by a single game in the American League West last season, the Texas Rangers can surely point to several games, plays and perhaps even pitches that could have made up the difference.
Knowing the division crown was lost by the slightest of margins, the Rangers are approaching 2013 with a focus on fundamentals, doing their best to make sure nothing is left on the table at season's end.
"Fundamentals are something we emphasize, and each time we don't get something done down here, they hear about it," manager Ron Washington said. "The only thing I don't want to do is add pressure to them, but there are situations out there that you have to take advantage of."
With three teams finishing within five games of each other, the AL West was among the tightest divisions in baseball last season.
While the newly added Houston Astros are not expected to contend for the division crown, Washington expects the AL West to be even tougher in 2013.
"I think it'll be even tighter," Washington said. "You're going to lose some ballgames that you should have won. You're going to win some ballgames that you should have lost. It's those other ones in between that you give away, [those are the ones we] want to try to prevent."
The ability to score runners from second with less than two outs is something Washington wants to see more of this spring and into the regular season.
"It's just something that we want to stress because that's part of playing winning baseball," Washington said. "If you can't execute, you can't win because every night you are going to pound someone into submission."