ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said Sunday that the starter in left field in the playoffs would be determined by the matchups, and the only guarantees in the outfield are Josh Hamilton in center field and Nelson Cruz in right field."You could see [Craig] Gentry, you could see [David] Murphy, you could see [Endy] Chavez," Washington said. "There's no set [plan]. The only thing that's set is Hamilton and Cruz. The rest of it is flexible. You will see Hamilton out there and you will see Cruz out there." Washington, who had previously suggested that the left-field spot would belong to Murphy as long as he kept swinging the bat well, is now saying the matchup with the opposing starting pitcher will determine his starter in left field. In Murphy's last eight games entering Sunday, he was batting .250 with a double and three RBIs. Cruz, who returned from a strained left hamstring on Sept. 13, had been playing solely as a designated hitter in his six starts. Washington said that in order to ease Cruz back into the stress of playing every day and managing his hamstring, he will only play six or seven innings for his first few games back in the outfield. "Cruzie is going to be the right fielder as long as he's healthy and in the lineup," Washington said. "We're going to start him out with six or seven [innings]."
Rangers set franchise record for attendance
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers packed in 43,508 fans for their final home game of the regular season, a 12-5 win against the Mariners on Sunday. Rangers fans came to the Ballpark in Arlington 2,946,949 times, a franchise record for the highest attendance in a single season."If I had to script it, I probably couldn't have scripted it any better than what's happened," Rangers CEO and president Nolan Ryan said. "As far as how the club's played and what we've accomplished, the fans have come out and supported us. You look at 2008, we drew [1.8 million fans], and now we're sitting here drawing a million over that."
While surpassing the 1997 record by 1,705, the achievement is even more impressive considering the heat Rangers fans had to withstand this summer.The first-pitch temperature was over 100 degrees 27 times during the course of the season, including 15 straight home dates from Aug. 5-31. "We play well in our park, we're comfortable in our park," Michael Young said. "Obviously, we've got a ton of fans coming to our games, we definitely expect that going into the postseason. We definitely play better at our home park, and it's a tough place to come into and win."
Washington to give pitchers light workload
ARLINGTON -- With the Rangers already having clinched their spot in the playoffs, manager Ron Washington is taking the opportunity to make sure that every pitcher who will be on the playoff roster will be well rested, especially the starters.After Alexi Ogando pitched just two innings on Saturday, Washington said he does not expect Sunday's starter Derek Holland to go longer than five innings. "Today, Holland is five innings. If he gets through five very conveniently, there might be a sixth one, but that's it," Washington said. "I'm not going to let him stay out there and throw over 100 [pitches], I hope. C.J. [Wilson on Monday], maybe three innings, then after that we'll see where we are." Ogando's short outing in his last start of the season could be a precursor to a move to the bullpen, as Washington reiterated on Sunday that the team would sport a four-man playoff rotation. The Rangers aren't ready to say what they plan to do with Ogando. "We know what we want to do, we're just not ready to say it yet," Washington said. The frontline relievers are also getting a rest, as Washington said that closer Neftali Feliz and setup men Koji Uehara and Mike Adams were getting Sunday off.
Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.