The Rangers have 11 regulars, according to Ron Washington.
You think that math doesn’t work? It’s added up to a 6-0 start so far.
It’s required Michael Young, the franchise’s all-time hits leader, to swallow his pride and accept a designated hitter/super utility role. Young playoff hero Mitch Moreland has to deal with being pretty much a platoon player. Mike Napoli and David Murphy both have skins on the wall in the big leagues are reserve roles.
It’d be a touchy situation in a lot of clubhouses. Not in Texas.
“Satisfying egos is not what this is about. Winning is what it’s about,” said Washington, whose biggest strength might be his ability to get players to buy into his message. “Because we have the depth that we have and everybody contributes, it makes it easier. We check our egos at the door.”
There’s a little chicken-and-egg action at work here. The role acceptance helps the Rangers win. Winning helps players accept roles that aren’t necessarily ideal from a personal standpoint.
“Obviously winning makes everything easier,” said Young, who has played first base and second base and been a designated hitter and will see some time at third base. “Being with this group makes it a lot easier. This is a great group of guys. We’re kind of wired the same. We’re all really competitive but pull for each other and want to see the other guy have great games. That’s a great environment to be in.”
Victories and good vibes in the clubhouse, a continuation from last year’s coming-out party for the claw and antlers, are a pretty good combination.
The Rangers know they won’t win every night. The clubhouse camaraderie, on the other hand, should be a constant.
“The camaraderie and attitude of this team makes it fun to be at the ballpark every day, whether you’re in there or you’re not in there,” said Moreland, who has made three starts at first base and one in right field. “It makes it a lot of fun just to be on a team like this, more than winning. But winning definitely helps, too, so hopefully we can keep that going.”
It’d be tough to complain about the buttons pushed by Washington anyway.
Murphy is 5-for-9 with a double and homer. Napoli, a catcher/first baseman who crushes lefties, is 4-for-8 with a couple of homers. Julio Borbon, whom the Rangers plan to play center field on most days, has a .385 on-base percentage and pair of key triples. Moreland, who has only one at-bat against a lefty this season, is hitting .308 and had extra-base hits to drive in runs in the last two games.
The Rangers are making it really hard to make a wrong decision when filling out the lineup card.
“Everybody on this team is behind the skip and is going to back him, no matter what the decision is,” Moreland said. “We’re going to be here and ready to go each day.”