DETROIT -- There now is a small sample of evidence as to how the Texas Rangers are
going to handle the season-long loss of Prince Fielder -- for the short term anyway.
Manager Ron Washington will hand Fielder's first-base spot back to Mitch Moreland and
will bat him third for at least a while under the new reality of a lineup that no longer features big boppers.
"I just want Mitch to be Mitch," Washington said. "If he is Mitch, that's going to be
"If they throw balls in the strike zone, take hacks at 'em. As long as you (writers) don't try to make him be Babe Ruth."
Left fielder Shin-Soo Choo returns to leadoff because he hits better there than in the No. 3 spot. He took a total of 15 RBIs into Sunday's game at Detroit, not what teams expect out of one of the prime spots in the batting order.
Center fielder Leonys Martin goes out of the leadoff spot into a niche in the bottom part of the order. On Saturday, he hit seventh, Sunday he was slotted sixth.
"He hasn't gotten to the point in his career yet where he's disciplined," Washington said. "He's an aggressive guy. I'll shoot him up there (to leadoff) every now and then."
Something else Washington will do is try to have his team be as aggressive as
possible on the bases.
His only real running threats are Martin, shortstop Elvis Andrus and right fielder Alex Rios.
"We're going to push it," Washington said. "We want to challenge the other team."
The Rangers stole two bases in their four games against the Tigers and were thrown
out six times.
Washington feels those odds will swing back in his club's favor if the runners get a little smarter about when they take off on their own.
Choo, for instance, tried to steal third on a 3-2 pitch with one out in the first inning -- and was thrown out on a strikeout.
"That wasn't smart," Washington said. "But if you're going to do it -- be safe."
When the news came out that Fielder was going to require season-ending surgery
Tuesday to fuse two neck discs, Texas GM immediately preached caution about expecting
the Rangers to go get a high-profile replacement.
Unspoken was the fact the Texas rotation has been decimated by injuries, completely
remade at one point. If the starters aren't strong enough to make the Rangers viable in
the postseason, what's the point of getting a one-season replacement for a guy who