Some Ranger fans out there may find themselves wondering something as of late: where in the world has Craig Gentry gone? Aside from a very small handful of pinch running appearances, he has been absent from regular play for a solid week as of today. Considering he currently is sporting a slash line of .328/.400/.421 over 183 at bats, it would make sense for him to keep seeing some sort of consistent playing time. So, what’s going on?
Gentry’s natural position is center field, while Josh Hamilton usually plays either center or left field. Given that David Murphy just got a well deserved promotion to full time LF and Nelson Cruz is going on his current streak, the logjam at center may be the cause of his lack of playing time. Hamilton is also starting to show signs of a much needed upswing; however, he still looks like he could use a couple of days for a mental break. All that being said, Washington may be hesitant to mess with his hot OF hands; but, if a player like Gentry is also sporting a hot hand, wouldn’t you try to include him in the line up somehow? This is where Michael Young comes into the conversation.
Young has been having an up and down season. He has been “The Face” for so long that many want to give him the benefit of the doubt when he says he’s just one good game away from emerging from his slump; however, it’s getting harder and harder to believe it and Ranger Nation is starting to take notice. Now, it’s no secret that Young does not like to sit out a game, but it may be time to get him some rest and give him time to regroup and get focused for the last third of the season. This is where Gentry can help, if Young would be open to actually resting for a game or two every so often.
I would like to think that Washington knows what he’s doing with his players when the lineup card rolls out, but sometimes you have to be willing to place productivity above tenure and status.