ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington has been adamant about getting his front-line players a day off this week. Michael Young was out of the lineup on Wednesday against the Athletics, one day after Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz sat on Tuesday against the Royals. Ian Kinsler, also out on Wednesday because of a stomach virus, and Mike Napoli were out of the lineup on Monday."One more guy to go," Washington said. He was referring to Josh Hamilton. Washington would like to get Hamilton a day off, and Thursday is a possibility. The Rangers lost two straight to the Royals as Washington gave his other players a day off. But the manager is still focused on the bigger picture and is adamant about giving his top players an occasional day off. "I said in Spring Training, we are going to go only as far as the guys we're resting right now will take us," Washington said. "If we don't take care of them, they won't take care of us. If they are out for a period of time, we're in trouble." Washington is particularly concerned about this stretch in which the Rangers play 20 games in 20 days. They had a rainout last Wednesday in Baltimore, but that forced a doubleheader on Thursday and the Rangers ended up playing four games in a 48-hour period. They don't get another day off until a week from Thursday. "If I don't do what I feel I have to do, I'm not doing my job," Washington said. "Right now, the way the schedule is and the way we're grinding and the improvement of other teams in the American League, there are no easy games."
Texas giving Snyder extended look
ARLINGTON -- Brandon Snyder, a right-handed hitter, started at first base for the Rangers against the A's on Wednesday, with left-hander Tommy Milone on the mound. Snyder entered the game hitting .333 (10-for-30) with three home runs and eight RBIs in 16 games.The Rangers are evaluating him closely. They left Spring Training concerned about the need for a right-handed hitter off the bench, and that was an area they identified as a possible upgrade as the season progressed. Right now, Texas is content giving Snyder an extended opportunity. "So far so good," general manager Jon Daniels said. "You have to give him credit. It's a tough role for a young player, and [manager Ron Washington] has done a good job keeping him engaged. Being able to play multiple positions allows him to move around and stay fresh. That's all you want is someone to make a meaningful contribution within their roles. He's done a good job against left-handed pitching." Daniels said right now the Rangers aren't looking around for ways to possibly upgrade the team. "We're not really focused on that right now," Daniels said. "We're still in the process of getting that going. I'm pleased overall with how the club has played. There will be a point in time when we'll look at that more closely. But we're not making any changes right now."
Young fighting slump; Kinsler out with virus
ARLINGTON -- Michael Young was out of the lineup on Wednesday. Manager Ron Washington said the day off was planned, but it still comes at a time when Young is struggling at the plate.In addition, Ian Kinsler was a late scratch because of a stomach virus. Alberto Gonzalez started in Kinsler's place at second base.
Young went into Wednesday's game with only eight hits in his past 48 at-bats, also batting just .196 in his past 22 games. Young still said he feels "great" at the plate."There are times when you don't get results in this game," Young said. "I'm going to stay focused on the fundamentals and keep chipping away at it. In a weird way, I like baseball most when it's difficult. I'd rather be locked in for 162 games, but it's tough when you get tested and when you get challenged. There are parts of the game that I really enjoy. "This is when the mental aspect of the game comes out, and I think that's what I excel at. I look forward to those games when you feel like you've pulled out of it. You're a better player because of it."
Nathan sympathizes with Lewis' miscues
ARLINGTON -- Closer Joe Nathan, who is the senior member of the Rangers' pitching staff, can sympathize with Colby Lewis and his costly errant throws on Tuesday night. Lewis overthrew first base on a grounder back to the mound in the first inning and it ended up costing him four unearned runs.It should have been an easy play for Lewis, but Nathan said that is not always the case. "I wish I could explain it," Nathan said. "We get so dialed in to throw with a lot of effort going home. That's how we're taught, to hit spots. I think sometimes when we're throwing to first, you can almost baby it a little too much, and I think that's when things can get away. That's why you see a lot of guys run the ball over halfway and kind of flip it. "I think that's the easiest way. But with men on base, though, you can't do that. I think there was a man on at the time. He didn't really have that luxury. The only thing you can do in that situation is maybe make a little more firm throw and finish, as opposed to guiding it over there. "You don't want to throw a sinker, but at least put a little something on it. I think a lot of times, it's easier for the first baseman anyway, because they're used to having a little something on it." Lewis ending up as the losing pitcher in the Rangers' 7-4 loss to the Royals. "I think we've all done it," Nathan said. "I was talking to Colby in the ninth inning and he told me, 'I put myself in this situation.' I go, 'Listen, I don't think there's many guys in there that haven't done it.' It's not out of the ordinary."
General manager Jon Daniels said Brad Hawpe is at full strength to play the outfield. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery and signed a Minor League deal with Double-A Frisco so he could work his way back into being able to play the outfield. He started in right field for the 12th time on Thursday for Frisco, but now his arm is to the point where he could play out there at the Major League level. Mike Adams is available again in the Rangers' bullpen. He was down on Tuesday night with a bronchial infection. Said Adams: "I'm better. I'm not 100 percent, but I'm better than the last few days. I don't know exactly what it was, but it was pretty rough. I had trouble catching my breath and breathing." Reliever Alexi Ogando entered Wednesday's game having not allowed a run in his past 15 1/3 innings. That's the third-longest streak by a reliever in the Major Leagues this season.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.