Texas Rangers: The Ramon Vazquez Rollercoaster
It certainly has been an interesting season for Ramon Vazquez. It began with a bad facial hair decision on media guide photo day, moved to his utility role, to an everyday role, back to utility, and now it looks like he may play everyday for a few weeks again.
The Rangers are the fifth stop for Vazquez since he came into the league with the Mariners in 2001 with his longest stint being in San Diego for three years from 2002-04.
For a guy who can play any position on the infield, he has never been a guy who has held a permanent spot there. Now in his second season with the Rangers he is moving a little less.
In 73 games played in 2008, Vazquez has spent 54 of them playing third base due to a long DL stint to regular Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock. And Vazquez proved that he has what it takes to be an everyday player.
He is hitting .320 with five home runs and 25 RBI, usually coming from the nine spot in the order. And going into last night, he had made just five errors in those 54 games at third.
Because of how well Vazquez was playing at third when Blalock was supposed to come off the DL the first time, he was going to move to first base where no consistency had been since Texas traded away Mark Tiexiera last year.
Then came 22-year-old Texas native Chris Davis. Davis stepped in and has been more productive than any other person at the position this season. That forced Rangers' management to make a decision when Blalock came back.
That decision turned out to be Blalock sticking with third, Davis continuing to play first and Vazquez finding his usual spot on the bench.
You can't fault Rangers manager Ron Washington in that decision. When your infield consists of Chris Davis, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, and Blalock, you're doing something right, and you can't afford to sit any of those guys down on a regular basis.
Then you think it's happened again. Sliding into a base, Young jammed and fractured his finger. The team expected him to be out 5-7 days. There it was. Vazquez's shot at a regular spot in the lineup again.
So Vazquez, who was playing third for Blalock moves to short, Davis moves to third, and Frank Catalanotto plays first. In the eighth inning with the comeback in their sights, things start to go south for Vazquez.
He's on third with another runner on second, one out, and Josh Hamilton at the plate. The crowd is loud (especially for a Rangers game) then silent. Vazquez has been picked-off at third, rally over, Rangers lose.
But at least now he will have an everyday spot playing shortstop, right? Wrong. Young decides to play through the pain.
But then Blalock's "upset stomach" that kept him out of Monday's game turns out to be a shoulder problem, and he finds himself once again on the DL. Now Vazquez has his spot at third base and can camp there for a little while, and everything is right again...not quite.
Vazquez has a horrible day in the field, making three errors including the one in the ninth that allowed the go ahead run to score.
Rangers’ fans are booing and asking themselves why this guy was so upset about not being an everyday player, he got his chance and blew it.
Once again, wrong. With the Rangers down by one in the bottom of the ninth, runners on first and second Vazquez comes to the plate. He rips a shot to right center field scoring two runs. Rangers win and Vazquez is the hero.
All in a days work.
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