Praise for Rangers’ Ron Washington flows from game’s greats

Posted Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Joe Torre, the former New York Yankees manager who is now a key figure in the Commissioner’s Office, saw a familiar face Saturday morning and excused himself from a few media obligations.

“I need to go shake hands with my friend Ron Washington,” Torre said. “Every time you look up, he’s in first place.”

The manager attended the Beacon Awards Luncheon, part of the festivities surrounding the seventh annual Civil Rights Game, and his work with the Texas Rangers was recognized by Torre and two of the game’s greats.

Hank Aaron, one of the game’s greatest players, said he has watched Washington and said he is going a “great job.” Frank Robinson, another all-timer and the first black manager in Major League Baseball, also lauded Washington.

“You can have a great team, but you can mess it up, too, and he hasn’t,” Robinson said. “He’s gotten the most out of his players, he’s let them play, and they’re enthusiastic. He knows the game, there’s no doubt about it, and he knows how to use his personnel.”

Washington has more wins than any other manager in club history, and many believe he should be the American League’s Manager of the Year after keeping the Rangers afloat after key departures over the off-season and after injuries and the loss of Nelson Cruz during the season.

Washington was taken aback when told that he had received praise from Torre, Aaron and Robinson.

“They’re some of the greats in the game,” Washington said. “They know who I am and what I’m about, and it means a lot when it comes from them.”

Tepesch to rehab

Right-hander Nick Tepesch has been cleared to begin a rehab assignment after his elbow came through 43 pitches of live batting practice Saturday without any issue.

The rookie, who opened the season as the Rangers’ No. 5 starter, will join Double A Frisco on Tuesday for 35 to 40 pitches. Minor league seasons are winding down, so the Rangers could have difficulty getting Tepesch more than two outings.

Saturday, though, was a success.

“I had pretty good command,” said Tepesch, who went on the disabled list July 7. “The biggest thing was no pain. That’s the biggest thing moving forward.”

Right-hander Alexi Ogando threw at 60 feet for the first time since going on the DL on Tuesday, and reported no issues in his shoulder.

Profar returns

Jurickson Profar was back in the mix Saturday after taking an off day Friday and watching fellow utility man Adam Rosales homer and drive in three runs during an 11-5 victory.

But Rosales’ performance wasn’t enough to keep Profar on the bench even though the rookie was batting only .194 against lefties. Ron Washington picked Profar because he has been a regular piece during the Rangers’ recent surge.

“It isn’t if I liked one more than the other,” Washington said. “He’s the one who’s been doing it.”

Profar started at shortstop, giving Elvis Andrus a day off his feet as the designated hitter. Andrus said that the Rangers’ use of Profar and the DH spot have left him feeling fresher than he was last season.

“DH actually feels like a day off,” Andrus said. “You just have to go out there and hit. For sure it has helped me out. I feel like I could still be able to play today, but at the same time I’m getting rest from playing defense. It’s been great so far.”

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson

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