Vlad unable to shake playoff struggles
Feared vet finishes Texas' run with .071 Fall Classic average
ARLINGTON -- Rangers designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero struck out three times in Sunday night's 4-0 loss to the Giants in Game 4 of the World Series, and he looked bad doing it.
Things hardly went better for Guerrero during Monday's 3-1 Rangers loss in Game 5 of the World Series, in which the designated hitter went hitless across four at-bats to finish the Fall Classic with a batting average of .071. Sunday was the first three-K effort in Guerrero's 43-game postseason career.
Manager Ron Washington expected the performance of Guerrero -- the Rangers' cleanup hitter and producer of a .300 batting average, 29 home runs and 115 RBIs during the regular season -- to change in a hurry entering Game 5.
"Some days he don't look good," Washington said. "But once again, he's one swing away."
This postseason, Guerrero hit .220 with no home runs, three doubles and six RBIs. Add in there a two-error performance when he was forced to play right field in the Series opener as well as an 0-for-1 line on steal attempts, and this qualifies as an extended period of subpar production.
"I think we've seen that at some point during the course of the year, too," Washington said. "But he's my big gun and I'm going to let him stand up there and hack."
Guerrero has completed a one-year contract that guaranteed him $6.5 million. There is a $1 million buyout if Texas declines, and none if Guerrero declines. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels called Guerrero a "first-ballot Hall of Famer" and said the club is not overemphasizing Guerrero's postseason in its decision whether to bring him back next season.
"There were some that doubted him coming off last year," Daniels said, referring to Guerrero's injury-plagued season with the Angels in 2009 -- the first time in 11 years he did not hit at least .300 or knock at least 25 home runs. "I think he's proved some of those people wrong, had a very good year for us. And obviously, we'll look at it all in context, but we're not going to evaluate him on the two weeks of games when he's had -- whatever it is, a 10-, 15-year career of excellent performance."
The Giants pitched Guerrero well, but Washington doesn't necessarily believe they followed a blueprint.
"He's a free swinger," Washington said. "There's no special way to pitch him. He's going to swing at your stuff. Sometimes he's going to catch it. Sometimes he's not."
Nippert replaces Ogando on Rangers' roster
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers added right-handed pitcher Dustin Nippert to the World Series roster in place of reliever Alexi Ogando on Monday afternoon before their 3-1 loss in Game 5 of the World Series. Ogando was taken off the roster with a strained left rib cage muscle, an injury he sustained in Game 4 on Sunday night.Nippert was the obvious choice over a list that included right-hander Scott Feldman and left-handers Matt Harrison and Clay Rapada. During the Fall Classic, the Giants employed a lineup that leans heavily to the right side. "We needed a righty," manager Ron Washington said. "We have enough lefties." Nippert joined a bullpen that included right-handers Mark Lowe and Darren O'Day, left-handers Michael Kirkman, Darren Oliver and Derek Holland and closer Neftali Feliz. Entering Game 5, O'Day and Oliver remained the primary setup relievers in the late innings. Feliz was expected to be used for four or five outs if needed, and everybody else was on call. The Rangers remained without right-handed setup reliever Frank Francisco, who has been sidelined since the end of August with a strained muscle in his right rib cage. He has been throwing throughout the playoffs but never came close to being an option. He and Ogando were the Rangers' main right-handed power relievers in front of Feliz for the final four months of the season. "Francisco was just not getting better," Washington said. "He'd feel good one day and bad the next. He's just got to get rest. That's a big piece to not have them. But this game has no excuses." Nippert was 4-5 with a 4.29 ERA in two starts and 36 relief appearances during the regular season. He was on the roster for the American League Division Series against the Rays and made one appearance, allowing two runs in one inning.
Greenberg apologizes to Yankees fans
ARLINGTON -- Less than an hour before the start of Game 5 of the World Series on Monday, Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg issued an apology to the fans of the New York Yankees.The apology was in response to remarks directed toward Yankees fans on a local radio show early in the afternoon. "Earlier today, in the course of praising the extraordinary support and enthusiasm of Texas Rangers fans, I unfairly and inaccurately disparaged fans of the New York Yankees," Greenberg said in a statement released by the Rangers. "Those remarks were inappropriate. Yankees fans are among the most passionate and supportive in all of baseball. "I have spoken directly to Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine to apologize for my intemperate comments. I would like to express again how proud we are of our fans and how remarkably they have supported the Rangers throughout lean times and now during this magical season." The Rangers defeated the Yankees in six games during the American League Championship Series. Three of the six games were in New York. Greenberg, on KESN, said, "I think our fans have been great. I think particularly in Game 3 of the World Series, they just blew away anything I've seen in any venue during the postseason. I thought Yankee fans, frankly, were awful."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @harding_at_mlb on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.