ARLINGTON, Texas — Ron Washington gathered his players for what they thought would be another team meeting in a surprisingly dreary season.
Instead, the Texas Rangers manager delivered the biggest shock of all: He was stepping down immediately.
Washington resigned Friday, saying he needed to devote his full attention to an “off-the-field personal matter.”
The announcement came one day after the injury-ravaged Rangers (53-87) lost their sixth consecutive game and became the first team in the majors mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Just three years ago, Texas reached its second consecutive World Series under Washington.
“It’s like losing your dad,” pitcher Derek Holland said. “I was extremely close with him. He’s taught me a lot both on and off the field, and I didn’t see any of this coming at all. I’m lost for words.”
Washington issued a statement in which he said his resignation had nothing to do with the team’s record. He did not disclose any details of why he was leaving, but he did give Rangers general manager Jon Daniels permission to say at a news conference that the move “was not drug-related.”
During spring training in 2010, it was disclosed that Washington had admitted to using cocaine once the previous year, but Rangers executives stood by him. The manager received a two-year contract extension in 2012, then during spring training earlier this year had another season added through 2015.
“As painful as it is, stepping away from the game is what’s best for me and my family,” Washington said. “This is in no way related to the disappointing performance of the team this season. We were already discussing 2015 and looking forward to getting the Rangers back to postseason contention.”
Tim Bogar, in his first season as Washington’s bench coach, will be the Rangers’ interim manager. Daniels said the team “most likely” would open a managerial search after the season.
Washington, 62, was hired after the 2006 season, replacing the fired Buck Showalter. The Rangers’ winningest manager and the only one to lead the franchise to the World Series, Washington leaves with a 664-611 record (.521 winning percentage).
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