I'll have a few more mid-afternoon bullet points flowing in a few minutes here, but I wanted to go ahead and throw this post up for what should be abundantly obvious reasons:
● According to the legion of Rangers beat writers on Twitter, Texas has activated right-hander Mark Lowe from the 15-day disabled list, and has cleared room on the active roster by designating utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez for assignment. After Michael Young was tabbed to receive the start at shortstop in place of a hurting Elvis Andrus earlier this week in Boston, I surmised that it had something to do with Ron Washington losing whatever remaining confidence he had in Gonzalez after his costly 10th-inning error in Kansas City on Sunday, and said that if Washington didn't even trust Gonzalez enough to feel okay about him backing up Andrus, then he should have been designated for assignment long before now.
Washington, meanwhile, asserted that Gonzalez not getting the spot start at shortstop had nothing to do with the error, and had everything to do with him wanting to get extra at-bats for Geovany Soto. That, in retrospect, was a huge smokescreen, because there's really no logical reason for carrying 13 pitchers and only 12 position players, and no logical reason for cutting Gonzalez other than a complete loss of faith in him; the now-clear reality of the situation is that Gonzalez was a dead man walking all week, and now you have a new active-roster problem on your hands as a function of this roster move, as Michael Young is now your only backup middle infielder, and will apparently cover both second base and shortstop unless/until the Rangers bring in a legitimate utility infielder.
● I didn't hear this interview first-hand, but there's a forum post about it and I've received various tweets about it, and it kind of relates to that first bullet point: Ron Washington went on the air with Norm Hitzges this morning, and basically affirmed that Michael Young won't be losing any playing time because he has helped the Rangers get to where they are today and because Young is capable of turning things around in a second. There's also this (possibly paraphrased) quote from that forum post: "If Ron Washington's boat is going down, it is gonna go down with Mike Young on it." I don't see too much of a revelatory nature here, but this is just about as explicit as Washington has ever been in his on-the-record support of Young, and, on that basis alone, I think this statement is kind of notable.
Now, of course, Washington's genuine vote of confidence in Young doesn't have to preclude a loss in his playing time. Washington could change his mind and decide that he really doesn't to want to keep gambling on Young deep into the month of October, when the games begin to mean everything; that said, he probably won't. It's also vaguely conceivable that upper management could step in and say "okay, we need you to scale back Young's playing time," but that doesn't seem to be the M.O. of upper management. I said a few weeks ago that my greatest fear vis-a-vis Young was that his continued terrible performance and everyday playing time would conspire to cost the Rangers dearly in the post-season. Yeah, things could still change, but you'll have to forgive me for not liking the direction in which the prevailing winds are blowing.
● Earlier today, Rafael Palmeiro said that the Hall of Fame would lose whatever credibility it still had remaining if the BBWAA didn't induct Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, and I wrote a few hundred words offering my thoughts on past/present PED use in the game and Palmeiro's comments. I won't copy over everything I wrote over there into this post, but I do feel like public sentiment on the PED debate has shifted substantially over the last 5-6 years (to the extent that most people no longer care all that much about excluding confirmed PED users from the Hall, if they actually care at all), and I also feel like Bonds/Clemens and other guys of their first-ballot ilk are eventually going to make it into the Hall. It might take a while, but I would bet on them being inducted sooner or later.