SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Manager Ron Washington said situational hitting will be a major focus for the Rangers in Spring Training. That's hardly surprising given Washington's ingrained philosophy as a manager, but it's something he wasn't happy about last year.
"We didn't do a very good job of it," Washington said. "I want everybody understanding what their job is in the lineup. I want everybody to understand that situation is paramount before self. If we can think like that, we can win 4-6 more ballgames."
It could also help the Rangers find those lost 78 runs. They led the American League with 808 runs scored in 2012, but fell to sixth with 730 runs last season. The Rangers added Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder in the offseason to fortify the top of the order.
But Washington said the bottom half of the order -- designated hitter Mitch Moreland, catchers Geovany Soto and J.P. Arencibia, second baseman Jurickson Profar and center fielder Leonys Martin -- needs to be proficient at situational hitting.
"Those guys have to do the little things," Washington said. "Move runners over, bunt, hit and run, squeeze, they will have to pay attention to what the game says has to be done. Every time they execute, they set it up for the guys who get paid to drive in runs."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less