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Hamilton supports skipper Washington

Hamilton supports skipper Washington

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ARLINGTON -- Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton offered his support to embattled manager Ron Washington on Thursday, saying the skipper is doing what he needs to do to put his best players on the field.

Hamilton, who leads the Major Leagues with 32 RBIs and is a top candidate for the American League Player of the Month award, talked for a few minutes about Washington's situation amid a 10-18 start.

Media speculation in the last week has focused on Washington's job status. Washington was not included in a lunch meeting last Friday with team owner Tom Hicks, team president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels.

Daniels, who hired Washington, voiced public support for Washington last Saturday. Hamilton, who has been the Rangers' best player on the field in his first year with the club, did the same before Thursday's home game against the Royals.

"It's sad that the blame goes directly to the manager," Hamilton said. "If we're not getting the job done, who's the first person that gets the blame? That's the business and that's the way it works. The players go through ups and downs, but the one guy there who can be blamed is the manager."

Hamilton said Washington has handled a very stressful situation great.

"I love playing for him," Hamilton said. "He's a great players' manager. It's one of those things where he's doing everything he can to put the best team out there and come out with victories. He can't play for us."

Hamilton points to last Sunday's 10-0 victory over the Twins in which starter Vicente Padilla threw a seven-hit shutout. The Rangers hit three home runs and did not make an error.

"You saw we can do it," Hamilton said. "We can pitch, play defense, hit and if we do all of that, we're right there with everybody else."

Washington, who is signed through 2009, was honest about how he feels about his job security earlier in the week, telling reporters that a slow start got the conversation going.

"The only way to stop them is to start playing better," Washington said.

Todd Wills 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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