By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Ron Washington sat in the opposite dugout from the one he used to manage the Texas Rangers, still with his ever-present passion for the game while talking about his role with the Oakland Athletics.
Washington was excited Tuesday to be back in the stadium where he twice led the Rangers to the World Series in his eight seasons as their manager. He loves being back in the majors as a coach and infield instructor.
He also hopes to manage again one day, and regrets that he had to leave his Rangers job late last season.
“I regret that I had to leave here, I regret that my wife had to suffer what she went through, I regret people that I love had to suffer what they went through,” Washington said. “Nobody will ever understand how much pain I was in, but I felt like I had to do what I had to do to save my marriage, and that’s what I did.”
Washington is a month into his new job with the Athletics, where he spent 11 seasons before becoming the Rangers manager.
Oakland general manager Billy Beane brought Washington back to work primarily with the infielders. Washington also throws batting practice every day.
“It’s what I do, it’s what I’m an expert at. Everybody in this game has expertise at something, and my expertise is infield field, my expertise I feel like is in base running, my expertise is in people skills,” he said. “This right here, I’ve got the equipment for it, I’ve got the tools for it, I’ve got the knowledge for it, so I just try to share it.”
Washington said the big picture and his day-to-day outlook right now is the same, to keep Oakland infielders thinking, believing and working right.
While he can be in uniform, he can’t be in the dugout during games.
“I get to look at the game in a different way. I get to look at it up top,” he said. “It’s a different perspective, gives me a chance to help the club in that way also, what I see.”
Washington spent his time out of baseball working with youth and college players in his native New Orleans, and he went to Italy to do a clinic for coaches. He also put in a garden, did work at his home and spent time with Gerry, his wife of more than 40 years.
“She’s great. Personally, we’re fine,” Washington said. “I’m happy, you know what I’m saying. Not that I was unhappy but, right now, I’m in a good place.”
And the 63-year-old Washington would like to get the chance to manage again.
“I can help a team. I can direct a team,” he said. “That’s going to be up to a general manager and ownership, I think my credentials are out there, just see what happens.”