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Washington, Daniels talk state of team

Washington, Daniels talk state of team

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington was treated to a birthday breakfast Tuesday, the day he turned 56. But along with the morning coffee was served perhaps an equally eye-opening discussion of the state of his team with general manager Jon Daniels.

Daniels, team president Nolan Ryan and club owner Tom Hicks had their own lunch meeting last Friday in Dallas to analyze the Rangers' poor start, its contributing factors and possible ways to turn things around.

Washington was not included in that meeting, and he was left to wait several days before his own in-depth discussion with Daniels. Washington declined to reveal details of their talk on Tuesday.

"The general manager will always have recommendations," Washington said. "It was a good meeting, and I'm going to do all I can to get us playing better baseball."

Daniels also was reluctant to divulge specifics of the conversation, but he said speculation over Washington's job status was discussed only briefly.

"Obviously, it's been out there and has been a talking point for the media," Daniels said, "but our conversation was really more focused on what he sees, what I see and what we need to do to improve."

Daniels voiced public support for Washington on Saturday. But the manager said none of the events of the past week have changed his sense of job security. Washington is signed through 2009, but he is realistic enough to know his team's 9-17 start could cut his term short if things don't improve.

"I never felt any different [about job security]," Washington said. "My security is predicated on [wins and losses], and with the way we played the last two weeks, things started. The only way to stop them is to start playing better."

The Rangers entered Tuesday's series opener against the Royals ranked 11th in the American League with 4.38 runs per game, 14th in team ERA (5.34) and 29th in the Major Leagues in defense (.974 fielding percentage and 27 errors in 26 games).

"There is a sense of urgency to improving things," Daniels said. "There's got to be some active measures taken. This was a chance for us to talk about what's been going on and what we have to look forward to for the rest of the homestand and the upcoming road trip."

It also was an opportunity for the GM and manager to discuss some of the team's new additions. Since Saturday, the Rangers have added starting pitcher Sidney Ponson, first baseman Chris Shelton and rookie outfielder Brandon Boggs. Removed from the roster have been third baseman Hank Blalock (disabled list), relief pitcher Kazuo Fukumori (optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma) and first baseman/DH Jason Botts (designated for assignment).

"You'd like to have a set roster," Washington said, "but there's no way you can control injuries and no way you can control performances. The big leagues is about performing and getting it done. Maybe bringing in some of these new faces can help."

Ken Daley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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