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Rangers Choose Ron Washington As Manager

By STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer

document.write(getElapsed("20061106T155526Z"));27 minutes agoUPDATED 6 MINUTES AGO

Oakland Atheltics' third base coach Ron Washington congratulates Dan ...

ARLINGTON, Texas - Ron Washington was hired as manager of the Texas Rangers after 11 seasons as an Oakland Athletics coach, inheriting a team that last made the playoffs in 1999.

"It's a done deal," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said in an e-mail Monday.

The Rangers planned to introduce Washington during an afternoon news conference. Washington's two-year contract includes two additional option years.

Washington was chosen over four other candidates to replace Buck Showalter. The Rangers fired Showalter after an 80-82 season, their sixth losing season in seven years.

The 54-year-old Washington becomes the Rangers' 17th full-time manager and first black manager.

Washington also had been a candidate in Oakland to replace fired A's manager Ken Macha. He first interviewed last month and met with owner Tom Hicks, Daniels and other Rangers officials during another interview Sunday.

"I was very impressed with his baseball knowledge and his insight into people," Hicks told the Dallas Morning News.

Washington played parts of 10 seasons in the majors as an infielder for five teams. But his only managerial experience was two years at the Class-A level in the New York Mets organization before his 11 seasons as Oakland's infield instructor and third-base coach.

He was popular with Oakland players and was instrumental in the development of six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez. The A's had the AL's top fielding team the past two seasons.

Washington stresses fundamentals and communication, and lets players be themselves. He takes over a team led by three-time All-Star shortstop Michael Young, two-time Gold Glove and slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira and Kevin Millwood.

When Showalter was fired with three years left on his contract, Daniels said the Rangers needed a "different perspective."

Showalter was known for his hands-on approach that led to some discontent in the clubhouse between the players and the manager. He was 319-329 in four seasons, and the Rangers never finished higher than third in the AL West.

The New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks both won the World Series the year after Showalter left them.

The other finalists for the Texas managerial job were Rangers bench coach Don Wakamatsu and Japan Series-winning manager Trey Hillman, an Arlington native and the Rangers' former director of player development. Both interviewed with Daniels and Hicks last week.

New York Mets third-base coach Manny Acta and Phillies minor league manager John Russell, a former Rangers catcher who caught one of Nolan Ryan's seven no-hitters, also interviewed but neither met with the owner.

Wakamatsu has been the Rangers' bench coach the past four years and still has a year left on his contract in Texas. He is a candidate for the Oakland job, and the Rangers had given Oakland permission to speak with Wakamatsu if he wasn't their choice as manager.

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