- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2011

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Ron Washington was on the coaching staff in Oakland when general manager Billy Beane was pioneering the Moneyball concept of building a major league team.

Beane relied heavily on advanced statistics rather than old-school scouting, a process Michael Lewis chronicled in the bestselling book, “Moneyball.” The book has been turned into a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt as the A’s general manager.

Given the success Washington has had with the Rangers, who can win their first World Series by beating St. Louis in Game 6 on Thursday night, perhaps they made the movie about the wrong person.

“No,” Washington said flatly.

“You know,” he continued, “I was in Oakland when all of that happened, and to me it was a great movie about a general manager that was hamstrung as far as dollars go, and he had to find players and put them together under a formula that he thought would work.”

Washington said he’s a “big fan” of Beane, who gave him a chance to be a major league coach, and later a glowing review to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. That allowed Washington to land his first job as a big league manager.

“As I always say, the things that you accomplish in life, it always comes from other people extending themselves to help you,” Washington said, “and he’s certainly been a big part in my career since I finished playing baseball.”

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HOMER-LESS HAMILTON: Josh Hamilton was rifling through his bag Wednesday afternoon, trying to find the right bat to sign for a fan. Hitters are superstitious about this kind of thing, always making sure they don’t give one away that has a few more hits in it.

Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson leaned over from the adjacent locker and jokingly told Hamilton that he wanted an autographed bat, too _ one that he used to hit a home run.

“It’s been a while,” Hamilton said. “Not sure I can find one of those.”

The slugging outfielder hasn’t hit a homer since going deep off the Mariners’ Anthony Vasquez on Sept. 23, a stretch of 19 games and 79 at-bats. That includes all five games against St. Louis in the World Series, which Texas leads 3-2 going into Thursday night’s rain-delayed Game 6.

The extra day off should give Hamilton a chance to rest his ailing groin.

Hamilton has been hampered by the injury for several months, and appeared particularly slowed by it during the first two games in St. Louis. He looked better in the warmer climate of Texas, but now the series shifts back north, where temperatures are expected to be in the 40s.

Hamilton has grown so tired of discussing the injury that he warned reporters Wednesday that he wouldn’t answer any questions if the subject was broached. However, he did say the postponment allowed him to seek more treatment and that he’d be ready to go for Game 6 on Thursday night.

“I hit in the cage, threw in the outfield, got some treatment on things,” he said. “We’ve figured out some things that will help, allow me to be able to be more aggressive and in less pain.”

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HIT-AND-RUN: The hit-and-run that Albert Pujols called for in Game 5 of the World Series was still a topic of discussion Wednesday. Pujols sent Allen Craig running and missed when he swung at the pitch in the seventh inning of a tied game, and Craig was thrown out easily.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa defended Pujols, saying the slugger has earned the authority and responsibility to call for a hit-and-run when Pujols thinks the play might work.

“That’s not the first time that we’ve done a hit-and-run,” Pujols said. “Probably in my career I’ve done that 200 times since I’ve been here, and I don’t have any problems with that play.

“Part of that trust is not that I deserve special treatment,” he said. “It’s just the trust that the manager has given me, just like he has to so many players here.”

Pujols was trying to put pressure on Texas by getting runners on first and third.

“That’s something that didn’t go our way,” he said. “People can throw rocks and blame everybody, Tony and myself or whatever you want, but it’s part of the game. If it would have worked out, like it has in the past, then we wouldn’t be talking about this because I can tell you, out of those 200 or 150 hits-and-runs that Tony puts or that sometimes he gives me the opportunity to put it on, believe me, we’ve won a lot of games, too. It just didn’t work this time.”

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SAVE A HORSE, RIDE A REPORTER: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is a well-known animal lover.

Among other things, he established Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, Calif., has taken part in PETA campaigns and is a vegetarian.

So when a reporter asked Wednesday for the umpteenth time about Chris Carpenter’s availability to pitch in a potential Game 7 of the World Series, and prefaced the question by saying, “At the risk of beating a dead horse that’s probably been dead …,” La Russa was quick with a retort.

“Can we use something else besides, ‘beat a dead horse,’” La Russa asked. “Can we just say, ‘Beat up a writer?’”

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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