Vlad to play right field in Game 1 of Series
Hunter to start Game 4 as Rangers keep rotation the same
SAN FRANCISCO -- Vladimir Guerrero will be in right field for the Rangers in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday, and right-hander Tommy Hunter will be on the mound for Game 4 when the Series returns to Texas.Those are two decisions made by manager Ron Washington as the Rangers arrived in San Francisco late Monday afternoon in preparation to play the Giants in the 106th World Series. Hunter will be the fourth starter. Cliff Lee will start Game 1 followed in order by C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and then Hunter, Washington said Monday. The first two games will be played at AT&T Park, and there will be no designated hitter in the National League city. So Washington said that Guerrero will be in right field for Game 1, and he could possibly be back there for Game 2 as well.
"My main concern is Vlad's offense," Washington said. "I want to keep that in there. I want to keep his presence in there."Guerrero, 35, was the Rangers' primary designated hitter through the season and hit .300 with 29 home runs and a club-leading 115 RBIs. He started just 16 games in the outfield, including six since the Rangers played their last Interleague road game on June 20. But the Rangers were also 12-4 in 16 games with Guerrero in the outfield. "Vlad has played there a few times and hasn't hurt us," Washington said. "I feel comfortable with him out there. He's worked on it every day." That would seem to give the Rangers two pretty good pinch-hitters off the bench in right-handed-hitting Jeff Francoeur and lefty-swinging David Murphy. But Francoeur is just 2-for-15 in his career as a pinch-hitter, including 0-for-7 this year, and Murphy is 3-for-23. Washington has also not ruled out Guerrero playing both games in San Francisco. "That's a possibility, but he's definitely going to play the first one," Washington said. "I'm going to play him in Game 1 and then we'll see." The Rangers discussed changing their rotation for the World Series but are keeping it the same as it was in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Hunter, a 13-game winner during the regular season, is 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA in his first two playoff starts while left-hander Derek Holland is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in four relief appearances. But Washington said he likes it better with Hunter, a right-handed pitcher, in the rotation against a Giants lineup dominated by right-handed hitters. "That has something to do with it, but Holland has done a great job out of the bullpen," Washington said. "He can go against left-handers or right-handers. He fits good out of the bullpen." The Rangers may add another right-handed reliever for the bullpen but are still discussing the final makeup of the World Series roster. They could go with either Mark Lowe, Dustin Nippert or Scott Feldman instead of left-hander Michael Kirkman or Clay Rapada. "We're talking about a few things, and that's definitely one of them," Washington said.
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.