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Wash regrets not resting regulars down the stretch

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington, in reviewing what went wrong with his club at the end of the season, said he may have made a mistake by not getting his starting players enough time off down the stretch.

Washington, sitting next to club president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels at a news conference on Tuesday, said he might have "run them in the ground" when talking about his everyday position players.

"Well, I think the way we went down the stretch, if there was something I could have done differently, I could have looked at not having all my regulars play as many games as they played." Washington said. "I think if I could have changed that and got them some opportunities to get more rest, then be much fresher as we went down the stretch, it could have been a difference.

"I question myself for that. No matter what you do in this game, there's always something new that you learn. That's something I'm going to apply going into next year and see where it goes."

The Rangers did not get to where they wanted to go this season after leading the American League West by five games with nine to play. Instead, they lost seven of their final nine, finished second to the Athletics in the division and then lost to the Orioles in the AL Wild Card game.

"Disappointing finish, I think, is a clear way to put it," Daniels said. "Everybody involved feels that way. From the standpoint of looking back and trying to identify what happened or why it happened, I don't know that we have any one reason or answer. We've always had a culture of accountability here.

"From that standpoint, I think it's on all of us, starting with myself and our group. There's no one decision, no one move, no one player, no one staff member that it falls on. I think there were a number of factors involved. We had a very, very good year, but not the finish we wanted."

The Rangers have just begun evaluating their season and what wrong. They have not made any changes yet, but they have also made no announcements on the Major League coaching staff.

It is no secret that the club wasn't happy with its offensive performance down the stretch, which could fall on hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh. But the Rangers still led the league in runs scored and were in the top three in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

"One of the things we don't have resolution in is our Major League coaching staff," Daniels said. "As soon as we do, we'll certainly communicate that to everybody involved."

Daniels did make it clear that Washington remains solidly entrenched as the Rangers manager when asked about the job he did this season.

"It would be very similar to the job he's done the last few years," Daniels. "The job that I've done and my staff has done, there are things that, personally, I would have maybe made some changes and done differently. I know Wash has been going through that self-evaluation process himself. There's not a guy that's more honest, more accountable, more open, and I think that plays to his advantage with the players.

"At the end of the day we didn't get it done as an organization. Wash preaches accountability, so he's taking accountability, but it's not on him anymore than it is on any other person. It's on a lot of us. We had a very good year. We had a bad finish. We didn't get the job done. But overall, I'm very pleased with the job Wash did and will continue to do as our manager."

Washington bristled at a suggestion that the Orioles and the Athletics were "hungrier" than his team.

"I think hunger is something you have or you don't have," Washington said. "I don't think there's any guy inside my clubhouse that wasn't hungry. I think if you look at Baltimore and Oakland going down the stretch, they can say we were because they were hot and we weren't. We just didn't play as well as we were capable down the stretch. If we could have played a little bit better down the stretch, I don't think we'd be talking about Baltimore or Oakland.

"They beat us out, and I think anything else is an excuse. I don't make excuses."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.
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