<
>

Extra Bases: Playing through a slump

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington knows there isn't any obvious fix to his team's woes right now. The club has lost four straight and nine of its past 12, failing to win each of its past five series. Injuries keep popping up and the offense can't seem to do enough with runners in scoring position.

So how do the Rangers get out of this slump?

"By playing their way out of it, taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves and good things begin to happen," Washington said. "You just keep playing and when those opportunities present themselves, someone has to deliver."

That hasn't happened consistently so far. On Saturday, the task was made more difficult by the fact that the offense didn't have Prince Fielder, who had been starting to hit the ball better over the previous 10 games. Texas kept playing from behind and couldn't ever get the lead in a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The manager still believes in his team and said he will keep working. He was asked how difficult these kinds of questions are on him personally.

"I'm the leader of this group and one thing I've always prided myself in is being a strong person," Washington said. "I'm going to be strong. It's not the first time that I've struggled. I've been through struggles as a player and I've been through struggles as a coach and I've been through struggles as a manager. You have to lead and you have to come positive every day and you have to make sure the proper work is getting done. Once that happens, you have to put them out there and watch them play and hope that things click."

Gallo turning heads: After Class A prospect Joey Gallo blasted three home runs Friday night, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was asked about the possibility of Gallo moving up to Double-A Frisco.

"He's forced the conversation on some level," Daniels said. "But nothing immediate as far as Frisco."

That doesn't mean Gallo couldn't get to Frisco, 40 miles north of Arlington, before the season is out. He has 17 home runs to lead all minor league players, but needs to cut down on his strikeouts. He struck out 172 times last season but has shown better plate discipline this one.

"He's done great," Daniels said. "Not just the power. He's really made some strides defensively and really made some strides with his approach and plate coverage. The day we signed him he had as much power as anyone in the game, just a natural gift. He's really made some strides in other areas and the results speak for themselves."

Feliz getting closer: Neftali Feliz has had two consecutive scoreless appearances at Triple-A Round Rock and Daniels said he's been feeling fine. But the right-hander must still show he can pitch back-to-back days and do so effectively and without pain before the club will discuss getting him back into the bullpen.

Still, he is pitching pain-free and working his way back.