November 18, 2011

Rangers manager does wonder, 'What if?' on World Series

Ron Washington meets the media for the first time since the end of the World Series.

ARLINGTON -- Ron Washington knows how close the Texas Rangers came to winning the World Series.

Two times they needed one strike to win Game 6 and close out the Fall Classic, but St. Louis rallied each time and won the world title in Game 7.

The Rangers' manager, though, hasn't second-guessed himself in the three weeks since the Rangers missed out in the World Series for a second consecutive year.

"I don't think you can ever forget it, but I do know that, with all my heart, we put ourselves in a great position and didn't get it done," Washington said. "You pick yourself up, and you go back at it again."

Instead, he is ready to look at 2012. The Rangers have questions in their starting rotation, beginning with C.J. Wilson and Neftali Feliz, and the bullpen no matter what decision is made with Feliz.

Once spring training rolls around in three short months, Washington isn't worried that his team will have any trouble getting over its near-miss last month.

"We just finished playing in a second World Series. There's no way it could ever become a negative," Washington said. "The bad taste that not winning the World Series has in our mouth, we'll deal with that. But it certainly won't be anything that steers us in the wrong direction."

Washington met with the media Friday at Rangers Ballpark for the first time since Game 7, and was planning to meet with general manager Jon Daniels later in the day.

The manager addressed several topics Friday:

What are your feelings on the possibility of Neftali Feliz moving to the rotation? I haven't discussed that with Jon or anyone yet. It's certainly something we'll talk about. He looked like he had the ability to do what it takes [last spring]. When you look back, that's what he'd done before he became a closer.

How badly do you want C.J. Wilson to return? He's one of the best pitchers in the American League. Of course, we want him back. But there's a process. He's in a position where he can go out there and find out if there's some place else where he fits better. We just have to wait for the process.

When looking back on Game 6, have you asked yourself, "What if?" Yeah. What if Feliz would have made the pitch we needed? What if [Nelson] Cruz had caught that ball? What if Darren [Oliver] would have gotten those two left-handers out and faced the pitcher? Yeah, what if? As far as second-guessing myself, I've always been the kind of person who's stood up to what I decided to do. I made my decisions, and we were in the position to win a World Series. We didn't get it done.

Why didn't Feliz pitch the 10th inning of Game 6? He wasn't, in my opinion, in a very good emotional state. It worked out perfectly to have Darren Oliver face those two lefties. Once again, on paper, facing those two lefties and a pitcher was an excellent move. But you've got to get the job done, and we didn't get it done.

What did you think of your speech before Game 7 being leaked? They got a chance to see what goes on behind closed doors. It was all positive. That's the way I do things. It's something private. Of course, you want to keep it behind the scenes. That's why you close the doors. But it got out, and it's just another thing you've got to deal with.

Josh Hamilton had surgery for a sports hernia last week. How did the injury affect him during the postseason? It definitely took away from his game. It may not have taken away on the defensive end, but I certainly think it took away on his consistency in his swing and consistency in generating power.The one thing I was most impressed with is Hamilton showed up and played. I love him even more for that. You were wondering if something was going to happen that would pull him out, but he made it. Through all of that, he got us the big swing we were looking for. We just couldn't shut it down.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

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