OAKLAND (AP) — Former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington has been hired as a major league coach for the Oakland Athletics, returning to the club where he was a coach for 11 years.
The A’s announced the hiring Thursday and said Washington would be with the team all season.
Washington’s defensive expertise will be a key addition given the team’s struggles so far. He can be in uniform but can’t be on the bench during games.
“Just another resource,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said before Thursday night’s game at Tampa Bay. “Known as a defensive wizard. It will be nice to have him.”
Washington said he heard from general manager Billy Beane on Wednesday and would meet the club in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Friday. Oakland is last in the AL West and leads the majors in errors with 44 errors, including 16 by shortstop Marcus Semien.
The A’s have lost six of their last seven and 12 of 14 games entering play Thursday, falling to 14 games under .500 for the first time since finishing the 2011 season 74-88.
The 63-year-old Washington has been working with youth and college players in his native New Orleans. He led the Rangers to AL pennants in 2010 and ‘11.
Washington resigned as Rangers manager last Sept. 5, saying he needed to devote his full attention to an “off-the-field personal matter.” Washington later acknowledged he had broken wife Gerry’s trust.
Washington, who played parts of 10 seasons in the majors as an infielder for five teams, spent 10 of his years with the A’s coaching third base after one season at first. He also was instrumental developing the infielders. Oakland led the league in fielding in 2004 and ‘05 and was second in ‘06.
Washington was popular with the Oakland players and helped retired six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez - not to mention Mark Ellis, Miguel Tejada and Jason Giambi
Chavez presented his third Gold Glove to Washington, who began coaching in the New York Mets organization in 1991 and later managed their Class A club.
The San Francisco Chronicle first reported Oakland’s interest in bringing back Washington to work with the struggling defense.