SURPRISE, Ariz. – Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington failed a Major League Baseball test for cocaine last season, but has apologized and will keep his job. "I made a huge mistake and it almost caused me to lose everything I have worked for all of my life," Washington said at a news conference Wednesday. "I am not here to make excuses. There are none."
Washington said he used cocaine only once and called it "stupid" and "shameful" behavior. The 57-year-old manager meet with his players earlier in the day and told them about testing positive in July.
The failed test was first reported by SI.com.
Washington said he told the commissioner's office and Rangers management about his cocaine use before he underwent a routine drug test. He said he offered to resign.
"We certainly had discussions about that," team president Nolan Ryan said. "He came forward and said he would resign. He understood the consequences. We had a lot of discussions and a lot of soul searching on it."
"He stood up to it. We felt like he was sincere and forthright," he said. "We are very disappointed by this. We are upset we were put in this position."
Washington's contract was extended last year for 2010 before the drug test. His contract expires after this year, which will be his fourth with Texas. The Rangers, out of the playoffs since 1999, stayed in postseason contention until late in the year and finished 87-75.
Washington has been subject to increased testing since he failed, and said he has passed every subsequent test. He said he has completed the MLB drug treatment program.
"Here's the biggest question: How and why did this happen?" Washington said. "That's a question I have had to face in numerous sessions with counselors."
"I recognize that this episode was an attempt to dodge personal anxieties and personal issues I needed to confront," he said. "That was the wrong way to do it. It was self-serving, and believe me, not worth it. I know you will ask, and so here's the answer: This was the one and only time I used this drug."
Asked whether he believed Washington's explanation, Ryan said: "I don't know the circumstances, but after Major League Baseball investigated it, they came back and felt like it was a one-time incident. Ron expressed that to us."
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said team management was initially "shocked, disappointed, angry" when Washington told them about his drug use.
"We felt it was important he acknowledged doing what he did. That was our first priority," Daniels said.
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