Oakland, CA – It’s no coincidence the A’s ended their four-game skid upon his arrival. Back in a uniform after retiring in 2014, he’s ready to help get Oakland back on track. Ron Washington was recently hired as the A’s infield coach, a position that’s very familiar to him. Washington was the manager for the Texas Rangers for seven years but before that he was a coach with Oakland for ten.
“I’m here and I’m enjoying myself, trying to instill the game of baseball to as many people as I possibly can,” said Washington. “My main goal is to help these infielders as best as I can as well as Mike Gallego [third base coach].”
It was with the A’s that Washington served as both the third base and infield coach. His expertise changed the cultural of the infield, developing much of Oakland’s talent in the last decade. He worked with six-time Gold Glove winner Eric Chavez and shortstop Miguel Tejada. Chavez was so impressed by Washington that he gave him one of his Gold Glove trophies, signed “Wash, not without you.”
There was something about the success of Washington that led to General Manager Billy Beane giving him a call asking him to rejoin the team. The A’s currently hold the worst record in the American League at 17-30 despite winning their last two games. They begin a nine-game homestand today and look to turn things around.
“Got a call from Billy Beane, the conversation was quick and my arrival was quick,” he explained.
“With some of the defensive issues we’ve had, to add another resource like that is terrific,” said Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin. “He is a very high energy guy, loves to work, so its to nice have him back. To have two guys like he and Mike Gallego, being able to help out with infield drills, we think we’ll benefit by it.”
Washington returned to O.co for the first time as a coach today and immediately got back to work. He took the field early working with players especially Marcus Semien, who alone holds the record for most errors in the Majors. Never one to back down from challenge, Washington didn’t hesitate accepting the offer from Beane and feels good about the future of this team.
“There’s no formula to being consistent, it’s a grind and I think these guys are grinding. But it’s May, they have to continue to feed off what they’ve done to win those last two games, I think they will. The process of playing a Major League season is grinding, caring about each other and going out there getting the job done. It does’t matter who gets the job the done as long as its done and I see that in this clubhouse.”
During his time in Texas he was the first manager in franchise history to win a playoff series back in 2010. The Rangers advanced to the Worlds Series that same year before losing to the San Francisco Giants in five games. Washington was also the first African American to manage a team into the World Series along side Cito Gaston who managed the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and Dusty Baker who managed the Giants in 2002.
His prediction proved to be true before the game, the A’s extended their winning streak to three games after shutting out the Detroit Tigers 4-0 today. Jesse Hahn delivered his first shutout of his career, striking out five allowing just four hits. Oakland scored four runs in the sixth off Tigers starter Shane Greene who exited the game after 5 2/3 innings scattering eight hits, striking out four and walking none.
Hahn breezed through nine frames, fanning five and walked none. The A’s provided excellent defense backing their ace and turned over three double plays. Hahn earned his second win in nine attempts this season. He pitched around three Oakland errors, including his own wild pitch that allowed a runner to reach on a strikeout. Hahn finished with a career-high 112 pitches.
“It’s just like Bob always tells us, ‘It’s going to turn. It has to at some point,’“ catcher Stephen Vogt said. “Hopefully this is it. Hopefully we keep playing the way we have the last three days because that’s the team we know we have.”