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08/31/08 4:02 PM ET
Rangers overrun by successful thieves
Bench coach holds meeting Sunday to discuss missed signs
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Rangers bench coach Art Howe met with pitchers and catchers before Sunday's game to talk about their work in stopping opposing teams' running games. It was not a congratulatory meeting for a job well done. "We're missing a lot of signs," manager Ron Washington said. "We're not using the slide step, throws over, pitchouts, inside moves, things like that. We're missing signs and not executing what we put in." The slide step is part of a pitcher's delivery to the plate when there is a runner on first. Simply put, instead of a pitcher using his normal leg kick in his delivery, he just slides his front foot as he makes his pitch. That reduces the power generated by the leg kick, but makes it tougher for a basestealer. Opponents have been successful on 76.9 percent of attempted steals against Texas, the seventh-highest percentage in the American League. But it's been worse lately. Entering Sunday's game, Rangers opponents had been successful in 18 of their past 22 attempted steals. But that didn't precipitate the meeting. Washington wasn't happy the Rangers missed a sign from the bench Saturday night when Brandon Wood dropped a squeeze bunt in the fifth inning that brought home the Angels' second run. "We had a feeling they were going to do something, and we missed the sign," Washington said.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.