GM Jon Daniels: 'We're not going to panic'

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels knows his team hasn't played well the past few weeks, dropping out of first place in the AL West. But he doesn't believe in making major changes, either.

"We're just not playing real well," Daniels said before Tuesday's 7-2 win over Oakland. "We're not going to panic or overreact, but by the same token you don't want to bury your head in the sand. There's a number of reasons for it: the injuries, some guys for different reasons haven't gotten going, the bullpen we're trying to sort out roles.

"We're looking at a variety of things, whether that's somebody we can call up internally. But we don't want to knee-jerk and do anything irrational. At the end of the day, we believe in this group of guys and we might tweak it here or there, but this is the group we believe will get us through it and our expectations haven't changed."

Daniels said he's confident the offense will figure things out, helped by the eventual return of Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz. But when asked what he's most worried about, Daniels talked about the bullpen.

"I'm not picking on anybody in particular but the bullpen has been pretty inconsistent at this point," Daniels said. "We're going to talk about a varitey of things, whether it's guys intenrally, or some opportunities outside to improve. Wash has been great about putting guys out there and giving them an opportunity, you just want to see somebody seize it."

Right now, manager Ron Washington has little choice but to keep running those young arms out there in pressure situations when needed. He'll ride his starters as much as he can to try to limit the exposure of some of those arms.

"We're asking guys to step up," Daniels said. "That's the position we're in. It's necessitated by moves we've made and injuries. Last year, we asked a guy with two months experience to step in and close. We asked a guy last year who had been in the U.S. for a few months to play a meaningful role in the bullpen. You don't know how guys are going to handle it until you give them that chance. That's where we are right now."

Daniels knows his team must start to play better.

"You don't want to overreact, but we're all watching the same things," Daniels said. "The last couple of weeks we haven't played very good baseball. The games haven't been fun to watch. You don't want to ignore that. We're still in the mode of looking for a tweak here and there and the hot hand, rather than panicking and looking to change course."