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Washington admits drug use as player

Washington admits drug use as player

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- One day after admitting that he used and tested positive for cocaine one time last summer, Rangers manager Ron Washington found himself answering questions on Thursday about his use of marijuana and amphetamines during his playing career.

The extra attention was Washington's doing. During numerous one-on-one interviews Wednesday, Washington admitted to various news outlets that he did indeed use both drugs on occasion as a player.

"When you're young, you make mistakes," Washington said. "I wish I could take back the mistakes I did, but I can't. You make mistakes.

"But the mistakes you make when I was young have nothing to do with what I'm facing today."

Washington admitted Wednesday that he used cocaine once last summer at some point before the All-Star break. Immediately thereafter, he was told that he was up for a random drug test. At that point, Washington told Major League Baseball, club president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels what he had done and that he would likely test positive for cocaine.

Washington went public with his apology on Wednesday, and in subsequent interviews admitted to using marijuana and amphetamines during his playing career. Washington signed with the Kansas City Royals out of high school in 1970 and had a 20-year professional playing career with seven different organizations that included all or parts of 10 seasons in the Majors.

"I can only keep repeating," Washington said. "I made some mistakes in my younger days. I want to get past it, move forward and start winning ballgames."

The 2005 drug testing agreement between owners and the Players Association banned the use of amphetamines and called for random testing. But the use of amphetamines or "greenies" was widespread throughout baseball going back to at least the 1960's and most likely well before that.

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Washington's admission is being viewed against the backdrop of his more serious transgression that he apologized for on Wednesday.

"I'm trying to put this behind me by talking about it and moving on," Washington said. "I'm getting stronger every day. My focus during the day is great. When it's baseball, that's the one thing I can focus on. It's like being in your favorite chair when you're watching television.

"I'm just hoping and praying that people can forgive me and move forward. I am a good person ... no, I'm not a good person, I'm a damn good person, and I'm proud and I'm a fighter and I'm hungry and I made a mistake."

The Rangers are aware of Washington's revelations about his playing days, but don't see them as relevant to what happened last summer.

"There is a kind of distinction to what people do when they are young vs. what they do later in life," general manager Jon Daniels said. "I'm sure there are things in all our past that we're not proud of. Ron could have avoided the questions earlier. He chose not to. I'm not going to punish a guy for being honest. It doesn't excuse the behavior, but that's the reality of it."

The reality is also that the Rangers manager is undergoing heavy scrutiny at a time when he is trying to prepare his team for the regular season. On Thursday, Washington was answering more personal questions while standing outside the home dugout with Ryan just before a 'B' game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Pitchers were warming up in the bullpen behind Washington while he was answering questions.

"My first inclination is this wasn't supposed to be out there," Washington said. "Now that it is, I want to get through it so it doesn't become a distraction to the team. I have a very strong team mentally and I'd like to think I have something to do with that, and my coaches.

"I just think that when you make a grave mistake like I did and are out front, this is expected. All I can do is say I'm sorry. My team and I, the Texas Rangers, are going to move forward. I know I have a lot of mending to do, I'm going to go through that process just the way that I am." Asked about the toll this is taking on his manager, Daniels said, "Obviously, yesterday was a very emotional day. We know there are more to come. We have to stand up and answer the questions. It's not easy. Ron understands that. We're going to support him, the players are going to support him and we'll deal with that as we go."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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