OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Ron Washington is back in the dugout where he got his big league start as a coach, promoted to his old position as third base coach for the Oakland Athletics on Monday after the club dismissed Mike Gallego.
Oakland headed into the opener of a three-game series at Seattle on Monday night with the worst record in the American League at 54-71 following three straight years in the playoffs.
The 63-year-old Washington spent 11 seasons as an A's coach before becoming manager of the Rangers in 2007 and leading Texas to a pair of AL pennants in 2010-11. Washington re-joined Oakland as a coach in May to work with infielders, but couldn't be in the dugout or on the bench for games.
''Any time you are a part of a major league dugout it means to me you really have an opportunity to make a difference,'' Washington said by text message. ''That is what I want to do, make a difference. I'm excited.''
He has specialized in working with infielders on their defense. His challenge this season has been helping shortstop Marcus Semien, who has 31 errors.
Washington was instrumental in developing the infielders during his first A's stint. Oakland led the league in fielding in 2004 and `05 and was second in `06.
Washington resigned as Rangers manager last Sept. 5, saying he needed to devote his full attention to an ''off-the-field personal matter.'' He later acknowledged he had broken wife Gerry's trust.
He had hoped to get back into baseball - and then the A's came calling when they needed help with their struggling defense.
Washington, who played parts of 10 seasons in the majors as an infielder for five teams, was popular with the Oakland players and a key in the development of retired six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez - not to mention Mark Ellis, Miguel Tejada and Jason Giambi.
Chavez presented his third Gold Glove to Washington, who began coaching in the New York Mets organization in 1991 and later managed their Class A club.
Gallego was in his seventh season as third base coach and 19th overall season with the Oakland organization, including 12 years as a player.