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Sunday a.m. Rangers stuff

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The second place Rangers seek to avoid the sweep against Minnesota this afternoon.  Then there's a day off on Memorial Day.

I hate off days on Memorial Day anyway.  It would be even worse if we have a full day off, on a holiday, having just fallen out of first place, having been swept by the Minnesota Twins, and in the midst of a four game losing streak.

Jeff Wilson's game story talks about how C.J. Wilson was great for 5 2/3 innings, before allowing a two run homer in the 6th and walking two of the first three batters in the 7th, both after getting up 1-2 in the count.

T.R. Sullivan's game story has Wilson and David Murphy each accepting blame for the big inning, and Ron Washington defending the decision to send Julio Borbon home on a one out shallow fly ball to right field that resulted in an inning-ending double play. 

Washington's explanation?  "When you're not scoring runs, you have to take a chance."  Which highlights the bigger problem with this team right now...that they aren't scoring runs.

However, when you've got the 3-4-5 hitters coming up, two runners in scoring position, and the fly ball that ends up ending the inning is in shallow right, I'm not so sure that that's a chance worth taking.  If you have Matt Treanor and Julio Borbon coming up next...sure.  But Ian Kinsler, Vlad Guerrero and Josh Hamilton?  Probably not.

Sullivan's notes also has a rather bizarre discussion of the utility infield situation:

The Rangers don't want to lose Andres Blanco or Joaquin Arias, but manager Ron Washington hasn't been able to find them playing time lately.

In the meantime, while sitting with two utility infielders on the bench, the Rangers are short one outfielder while Nelson Cruz is limited because of a torn left hamstring muscle. Cruz was out of the lineup for the second straight day while still available for pinch-hitting duties.

Cruz, who pinch-hit in Friday's game, said he is "better" and is experiencing only minimal soreness. He won't be in the lineup on Sunday but the Rangers are hoping that he can be used as a designated hitter during the three-game series with the White Sox that starts on Tuesday in Chicago.

Cruz pinch-hit for Julio Borbon in the seventh inning on Friday and grounded out. If he had reached base, pitcher Rich Harden would have pinch-ran for him. When the inning was over, Washington had to put designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero in right field and lose his designated hitter.

He was left with two utility infielders on the bench. The Rangers don't want to call an extra outfielder from Triple-A because they would have to expose either Blanco or Arias to outright waivers before they can be sent to the Minor Leagues.

"If we let either one of them go right now, we'd lose them," Washington said. "I need Blanco and I need Arias."

Blanco, going into Saturday, has not played in 10 straight games while Arias has appeared in just three of 11 games since coming off the disabled list. Washington said there are no plans to get Blanco in the lineup anytime soon. The Rangers are in a stretch where they have three days off in an eight-day period and Washington doesn't see any of his infielders needing a day off.

"I'm not going to give [Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus] a day off so Andres can play," Washington said. "We're trying to win ballgames. We've got to go with the best we've got."

I'm not sure how any Ranger fan doesn't read that and end up banging his head on the table.  Washington needs both Blanco and Arias, but neither of them are playing right now and they aren't going to play anytime soon.  And the Rangers need a backup outfielder, but can't add one because they might lose Blanco or Arias.

This is veering into the realm of the absurd. 

Meanwhile, Craig Gentry hasn't played the past two days in Oklahoma, even though he's apparently not hurt.  Read into that what you will.

The only thing I can figure is that the Rangers don't want to give up Joaquin Arias for nothing -- he has no place on this team, but they think he has value, and they aren't willing to let him go without getting at least close to the value they think he has.  And if that means, effectively, playing with a 24 man roster, the Rangers are willing to do that.

Jeff Wilson's notes mention that Cruz will hopefully return in the Rangers' series next week against Chicago, although he'll be limited to DH duties, meaning the outfield will continue to be stretched thin.  But hey, at least we have two utility infielders that never play!

Wilson has a Q&A with Jon Daniels up at the S-T website.

Tim Cowlishaw suggests that Vladimir Guerrero is the A.L. MVP this year.

The Economist has a story up on the ongoing Rangers sale and bankruptcy drama.