By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
The gravity doesn't escape Oates. Standing near the Texas dugout, his mood is nearly as gloomy as the gusty, gray skies overhead. The cardinal--but often broken--rule in sports is that you don't lose your job to an injury, and so I ask if Kapler will be permanently returned to his post.
"I didn't say that," Oates says, smiling his eerie smile.
Well, then it must be Curtis, right?
"I didn't say that either. Are you making out the lineup? I don't know who's going to play because we don't know who's completely healthy and who will stay that way."
All right, someone asks, joining the fray, let's assume everyone is healthy, then what?
"If that's the case, then no one is gonna play because we'll have seven outfielders."
Fine. The responses are curt, which tends to be General Johnny's way of moving on to the next question. But, this time, his sullen 'tude is also something else: It's indicative of the stress. You can see it plainly, manifested in extra wrinkles and folded arms. Problem being, there's no definitive path that will lead the Rangers to increased productivity or more wins.
Me? I'm not sure what I'd do if I were Oates. Probably go with Kapler.
And then call up Jim Beam.