Hicks rips Rangers' lack of toughness, leadership

With less than a month left in the regular season, Rangers owner Tom Hicks has come out swinging at his team.

Hicks complained in a radio interview Tuesday about the Rangers' lack of leadership and mental toughness this season.

"We need to be a little tougher," Hicks said on KTCK-AM. "We need to be mentally tougher. I think we missed David Dellucci [traded to the Phillies on April 1] this year. I think that leadership in the clubhouse part is really important, and we didn't have that after he left."

During the interview, Hicks also said that although general manager Jon Daniels did not think a managerial change was in order, Hicks had been trying to "dig around" to see if skipper Buck Showalter's style was affecting the players.

"Buck has a unique style that works," Hicks said during the interview. "He grinds pretty good, and I think that's why he's successful. But coaches in any sport with that style sometimes run their course with certain players. But, we might want to change players rather than change managers."

Hicks declined requests to elaborate on those statements, saying he would answer questions at the end of the season. Showalter also declined to comment, saying he hadn't heard the interview but was aware of it.

Daniels told the Dallas Morning News that the entire Rangers organization was responsible for this season.

"If the team is lacking in leadership, it starts with me," Daniels said. "Anything pertaining to a lack of performance or a lack of success starts with me and everybody else in the organization. Everybody who wears the 'T', whether it's on a uniform or not, is fully vested. There's a lot I'm proud of this year, but at the end of the day, I take accountability if we come up short of our goals."

Although some players declined to discuss Hicks' comments, several disagreed with them.

"He's entitled to his opinion, but the fact of the matter is that in the four years I've been here, we haven't had what it takes to win," first baseman Mark Teixeira told reporters. "We've had different teams every year, and none of them have turned out like we would have hoped. We're still searching for the right combination."

"Absolutely not," shortstop Michael Young told reporters when asked if he thought the team lacked toughness. "If anyone questioned my toughness or my ability to grind through a season, I'd have a big problem with it.

"We didn't win because we lacked toughness," Young added. "We didn't win because we got outplayed. But don't question my approach to the game. Any player that takes pride in the game would look at those comments personally."

Young's comments came after Hicks singled the shortstop out during his radio interview, saying that the All-Star Game MVP and reigning batting champ is a great player and leads by example but is "not a captain of the clubhouse kind of guy."

"Mike Young is for sure our leader," third baseman Hank Blalock told reporters. "He doesn't need to yell. He is so confident and expresses that confidence that he never has to yell at anybody. I see him talking to Ian Kinsler off to the side, he talks to me, and I know he talks to other guys. He doesn't yell, and he doesn't do it out in front of people, but he does [communicate]. And he does it well.

"I don't understand the toughness part of it," Blalock added. "Michael Young and Mark Teixeira play 162-game seasons in 100-degree heat. You've got to be pretty tough to do that."

Entering Wednesday, the Rangers were eight games back in the AL West and 9½ games back in the wild-card race.