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Ron Washington seems irritated with the whole Russell Wilson thing

Ron-WashingtonRussell Wilson will be joining the Texas Rangers for their Cactus League game on Monday, but the Seattle Seahawks quarterback will not be stepping to the plate. On Wednesday, a seemingly annoyed Ron Washington answered a series of questions from reporters about whether or not Wilson will be allowed to hit in the game.

“How’s he gonna get an at-bat? The guy hasn’t had any work at all,” Washington said. “No way … The guy hasn’t seen a pitch. He hasn’t seen anything. I’m not running him up there.”

A reporter then asked if it is a matter of not wanting to take an at-bat away from a legitimate contender who could actually make the team.

“That is correct because that’s a fact,” Washington replied with a smirk.

Washington has always been a no-nonsense kind of guy, and it would be tough to describe Wilson’s scheduled appearance on Monday as anymore than nonsense. The Rangers control Wilson’s rights after taking him in the Rule 5 draft in December, but the 25-year-old just won a Super Bowl. His future revolves around the NFL and only the NFL.

“Our intention is to bring him in and try to see if there’s anything he can say that may help anyone around here that has a baseball uniform,” Washington concluded. “This guy’s a winner. He has tremendous character. He has attitude and undoubtedly a lot of commitment to what he does. That’s what we’re about.”

And yes, we know how much Washington loves to bunt. That doesn’t mean he’s going to put Wilson in the way of a 90-mph fastball just to drop one down. Reporters know this is nothing but a PR stunt. It must be exhausting for Washington to listen to them act like it’s anything more.

Video via The Big Lead

Ron Washington goes off on bunting critics

ron-washingtonRon Washington is one of the few managers left in the league who appreciates the value of a good sacrifice bunt. The more time that passes, the more statisticians have come to believe that giving up a free out is rarely a good decision. The Texas Rangers manager went off on Sunday when asked what he would say to those analytical geeks.

“I think if they try to do that, they’re going to be telling me how to [expletive] manage,” Washington said, via Gil Lebreton of The Star-Telegram. “That’s the way I answer that [expletive] question. They can take the analytics on that and shove it up their [expletive].”

Eaaaaasy Ron — have a cigarette and relax. Washington has clearly heard enough of the anti-bunting arguments, and it was almost as if he was waiting for someone to ask a question about it so he could snap.

“Mike Scioscia dropped 56 sacrifice bunts on his club, the most in the league, and he’s a genius,” he barked. “But Ron Washington dropped 53 and he’s bunting too much? You can take that analytics and shove it.

“I do it when I feel it’s necessary, not when the analytics feel it’s necessary, not when you guys feel it’s necessary, and not when somebody else feels it’s necessary. It’s when Ron Washington feels it’s necessary. Bottom line.”

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus dropped down 13 sacrifice bunts last season, which was the most in the MLB among position players. The way Washington made it seem, he is not simply committed to bunting. He feels that his players are not effective enough with situational hitting, which makes it a safer play to bunt in certain situations.

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Ron Washington caught smoking a cigarette in Rangers dugout (Video)

Ron-Washington-smokingThere are a number of designated smoking areas around the Ballpark in Arlington where smokers can go if they need a fix. To our knowledge, the Texas Rangers dugout is not one of them.

That didn’t stop Rangers manager Ron Washington. During the 9th inning of his team’s 11-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday night, Washington was caught by television cameras taking a puff of what appeared to be a cigarette. There’s always an outside chance it could have been one of those fake vapor cigarettes smokers use to help them overcome addiction, but I highly doubt it.

Getting through a game where 14 runs are scored without smoking cannot be easy for someone who is addicted to cigarettes. That being said, MLB has banned smoking in dugouts because it is a public relations nightmare. Washington will probably be hearing from the league.

H/T LBS reader Manny R.

Josh Hamilton is having some serious, mysterious problems

Josh Hamilton spent the first part of the season playing like a baseball god and the cries for the Rangers to sign the impending free agent to a contract extension were loud. Now he’s in a massive slump and is being booed at home, and both he and Rangers manager Ron Washington have hinted that there is something serious going on with the slugger.

First came Hamilton’s cryptic comments over the weekend after he began the home stand 1-for-14.

“When the time is right, I’ll be honest with you, you’ll be right in the loop,” Hamilton said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’ve been shown a lot of things over the past week. There’s disobedience and there’s obedience to God. I’ve been being disobedient. It may be a small thing to you, but it’s a big thing to him. There’s consequences. It’s like a father and a kid. There are disciplines. You guys can chew on that and think about it.”

There’s a lot of mystery with those comments. Ron Washington was unable to fill in more details, though he did confirm the existence of some issues.

“The issues is something that I think Josh would definitely have to be the one to expose,” Washington told The Ben & Skin Show on KSPN. “It’s certainly not physical. It has nothing to do with injuries. Josh is the one that made the statement and got all the inquiries going, and I think Josh is the one that has to put a rest to the inquiries, not Ron Washington. I can just tell you one thing: It is not because he’s hurt.”

Hamilton had an alcohol-related relapse in February, so there has been speculation that the former addict is using drugs and/or alcohol again. Others have wondered if his problems are family-related and if he is going through a divorce. Both guesses sound like they could be possible, and they’re not necessarily independent.

H/T Hardball Talk

Ron Washington: Comparing Mike Trout to Willie Mays has to stop

Angels rookie outfielder Mike Trout is an insanely good athlete. After spending much of the first month of the season in the minors, Trout has wasted no time figuring out how to wear out Major League pitching and make an impact on the game. In 74 games, Trout is leading the American League with a .357 average, 31 stolen bases, 70 runs scored and an on-base percentage of .412. He has also added 15 homers and 47 RBI and played tremendous defense in center field.

For all the aforementioned reasons and more, folks are already comparing the 20-year-old phenom to Willie Mays. Rangers manager Ron Washington says that has to stop.

“He’s not Willie Mays,” Washington said after a loss to the Angels on Sunday according to ESPN.com. “He’s a pretty good player, but I think the comparisons have to stop. Let the kid play. When he’s been here five years, six years, then you can start doing that.”

I couldn’t agree more. Trout is obviously a phenomenal talent with incredible potential as he has shown with plays like this one, but Mays is arguably the best all-around player to ever play the game. As amazing as it is that Trout has already shown he is a five-tool player after just over 100 total Major League starts, that could also mean opposing pitchers have yet to figure him out. Mays played over 20 seasons, hit 660 home runs and drove in nearly 2,000. If Trout continues to produce at a high level for about 1,500-2,000 more games, then the comparisons to Mays would be slightly more justified.

Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Ron Washington Believes He Would Have Made A’s Winners [Unlikely]

I know, I know. Upon reading the headline, I’m sure your first inclination was to throw in a cocaine joke. Ours too. But we here at LBS are tasteful, and don’t have to resort to such low-hanging fruit when it comes to humor. So we won’t.

Getting to the story, in light of all the Moneyball talk lately, Ron Washington raised some mustaches by telling the San Francisco Chronicle that if he had been named manager of the A’s in 2006, they’d be winning just like the Rangers have.

“If I took this team over when I went to Texas, I believe the same thing we did in Texas, we’d be doing here,” said Washington, referring to Oakland. “Billy (Beane) had that chance. I’m not saying he didn’t want me, but he went in another direction, and another team wanted me.”

Washington was hired to manage the Rangers in early November 2006, while the A’s went with Bob Geren a week or so later. The A’s haven’t had a winning season since, and they have finished third or worst in the AL West in four of the five seasons. Texas, meanwhile, has enjoyed three winning seasons in a row, and even reached the World Series last year. But few people, outside of Ron Washington and Ron Washington’s mother, will argue that Ron Washington is the reason the Rangers have been successful while the A’s have not.

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Ron Washington Pulled C.J. Wilson Too Early and Bullpen Blew it for Texas

If you’re a Texas Rangers fan walking out of the Ballpark in Arlington or done watching Game 1 of the ALCS on TV, you have to be asking yourself “how the heck did that just happen?” The Rangers were up 5-0 in the 7th and on absolute cruise control against the Yankees but wound up losing 6-5. The momentum change in the game was unreal and could cost Texas a chance at the series. Fans are lucky they have their manager Ron Washington to blame for things unraveling so quickly.

Starting pitcher C.J. Wilson was awesome for the first six innings of the game and only got touched up by Robinson Cano who hooked a change up around the right field foul pole for a home run. After the home run in the 7th, Wilson got the next three batters out. Then in the 8th, Wilson allowed an infield hit to Brett Gardner who beat out a ball in the 3-4 hole. Derek Jeter hit a hard ground ball down the left field line right after that, scoring Gardner from first. It was one of the few hard-hit balls Wilson allowed the entire game, yet Ron Washington thought that was the proper time to remove his effective starter. Wilson left with a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the 8th with Derek Jeter at second. And that’s when everything fell apart for the Rangers.

Lefty Darren Oliver walked Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira to load the bases. Washington pulled Oliver after 13 pitches in favor of Darren O’Day who gave up a laser by Alex Rodriguez that scored two making it 5-4. The very next pitch, Robinson Cano smashed a line drive up the middle off reliever Clay Zapada to score Teixeira and tie the game. Keep in mind that’s two pitchers who made two pitches and gave up three runs. Washington then figured Derek Holland could be the answer. Holland gave up the go-ahead single to Marcus Thames but managed to get the next three men out, not to mention pitch a scoreless 9th. By that time it didn’t matter because the damage had been done.

Ron Washington went through five pitchers in the 8th inning. C.J. Wilson left with a 5-2 lead and only a man on second but Washington thought it was time to pull him. Maybe next time he’ll let his starter keep going, and maybe next time the rest of the bullpen will do their jobs.

Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images