Commentary

The best use of Josh Hamilton

Ron Washington needs to be creative to get the most out of his outfield

Updated: August 19, 2011, 2:30 PM ET
By Dave Cameron | FanGraphs
Josh HamiltonNorm Hall/Getty ImagesJosh Hamilton's ability to play two outfield positions provides his manager with lineup flexibility.

August has been good to the Texas Rangers. They are 11-5 since the month began, and, by beating the Los Angeles Angels in three of their past four games, they have a six-game lead in the American League West.

However, as they head toward the playoffs, they're going to have to figure out exactly what they want their outfield to look like.

The past few weeks, manager Ron Washington has experimented with a few options. Although Nelson Cruz has been the regular right fielder, Josh Hamilton has been bouncing between left field and center field depending on the matchup.

This is the result of a pseudo-platoon between Endy Chavez (who mostly plays center) and David Murphy (who plays left, forcing Hamilton to cover center). They have split their playing time in August nearly down the middle: Chavez has started eight times, Murphy seven.