Buzz: Ron Washington slashes at Bobby Valentine

ARLINGTON, Texas – Want to get Ron Washington grumpy? Ask him about his pitchers bunting.

It was a topic of conversation Tuesday because the Rangers’ pitchers worked on bunting in batting practice in preparation for this weekend’s interleague series in Houston. It’s a sore subject because Boston manager Bobby Valentine suggested that Colby Lewis' failure to execute a bunting/slashing situation in Game 6 cost the Rangers a World Series title.

Lewis bunted into a double play in the second inning of that game. St. Louis shifted its defense to put third baseman David Freese close to the plate, and if Lewis had properly read the situation, he would have pulled back the bat and swung away, aka slashing.

Valentine bluntly mentioned that to Boston reporters while Red Sox pitchers worked on bunting fundamentals during spring training, which didn’t exactly get the former Rangers manager added to Washington’s Christmas card list.

“Bobby’s running his team; I run this one,” Washington snapped when the subject was broached Tuesday. “Slashing is definitely a part of their process, but if a pitcher is not used to being to the plate and that situation arises and he doesn’t react to it, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a part of what we do. He didn’t react to it. He had the OK to slash if that happened. He didn’t react to it.

“So some people don’t know what the hell they’re seeing and what the hell they’re talking about.”

Other notes:

*Scott Feldman will be unavailable for two or three games after making a spot start Monday. Lefty rookie reliever Robbie Ross is only available for a one-batter situational appearance tonight after pitching 2 1/3 innings.

*After all the hype about the Angels-Rangers rivalry, it’s the Oakland A’s who are sitting in second place of the AL West, four games behind the Rangers. “Wow, they’re playing some good baseball,” Washington said of the A’s, who arrive in Arlington for a two-game series Wednesday. Washington said he never thought that the AL West would be a two-team race.

*Nelson Cruz was one of 12 players in the majors who had played every inning in the field this season until he was given the day off Tuesday. He had started every game in right field for the Rangers.