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04/20/08 1:29 PM ET
Botts, Broussard battling it out at first
Platoon may be in the cards if upstart continues to excel
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington is reluctant to call it a platoon. But that's how the Rangers first-base situation is shaping up as Jason Botts starts to show a little muscle and Ben Broussard tries to fight his way out a slump. Broussard was back in the lineup on Sunday with right-hander Tim Wakefield pitching for the Red Sox. But it was only his second start in the last five games, and it's clear that Botts is starting to infringe on Broussard's playing time. Washington came into the season expecting Broussard, a left-handed hitter, to play every day against both left- and right-handed pitchers. But now he has two players he's trying to get playing time at one position. Entering Sunday, Botts was 4-for-15 with three doubles and a home run in his last four games. "I trust Ben Broussard," Washington said. "But the way Botts is doing things, he deserves some time. He's certainly swinging the bat well, and we can always use the offense. I haven't been calling it a platoon, but he's certainly going to get more time." Broussard had three home runs and eight RBIs on the opening road trip and was hitting .286 through the doubleheader sweep over the Orioles on April 10. But he went into Sunday's game hitless in his last 12 at-bats and with one single in his last 19 at-bats. He insists the confidence is still there, adding that he refuses to let irregular playing time be a problem. It wouldn't be the first time he has been a platoon player. "That can't be an excuse," Broussard said. "All I can control is the work I do every day. I feel confident because I have a track record. I've been successful before, and I've come back from failure before. I've dealt with it before. It's a matter of getting in the game and getting going. "I'm trying not to get caught up in results. When you do that, you get in trouble. I just try to have a good attitude. One week, you're leading the league in home runs and RBIs; the next week, you have a bad week. That's why you try not to get down or too excited."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.