A member of the Texas Rangers' coveted core group received a contract extension Monday, though he usually only takes the field to argue with umpires and switch out pitchers.
Manager Ron Washington agreed to a two-year extension that will keep him in the Rangers' dugout though 2014. The financial terms were not disclosed, though the two-year deal Washington signed after the 2010 season pushed his salary past $1 million annually.
In an off-season that was said to have the goal of locking up the nucleus that has built the Rangers into a perennial winner -- an aim that was sidetracked by the successful pursuit of pitcher Yu Darvish -- Washington rates as the first from the core to get a new deal.
"Our guys love playing for this man," general manager Jon Daniels said. "You see that every day. The national baseball audience has seen that the past two Octobers. You really see the way our guys respond to him."
The Rangers' record has improved each of the past four seasons after they went 75-87 in his first season. They won 96 games in 2011 and captured their second straight American League pennant.
Washington wants to see more improvement this season, even if it isn't reflected in wins.
"What we're going to improve upon is the fundamental part of the game that determines whether you win or lose ballgames," he said. "We have a group of guys... and they have grown and understand what it takes to show up every day and commit themselves to what it's all about at the major-league level. That's winning ballgames."
Washington rates third in club history with 427 wins, behind Bobby Valentine (581) and Johnny Oates (506).
Rangers, Oswalt meet
Daniels and team president Nolan Ryan met with right-hander Roy Oswalt over lunch Monday as the Rangers consider adding the free agent to the pitching mix.
Daniels declined to discuss the meeting.
Oswalt is coming off a season in which he was hampered by a back injury, and he has dealt with back issues for much of his career.
The Rangers are attempting to gauge if Oswalt, an 11-year veteran, is committed to the workload that Ryan and pitching coach Mike Maddux demand from all pitchers.
The Rangers like their starting rotation as it stands now -- with Colby Lewis, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison. They are trying to determine where Oswalt would fit, and internally have considered a role in which he would work some out of the bullpen.
Agent Bob Garber has said that Oswalt does not want to pitch in relief.
Seven Rangers game times were changed when Major League Baseball released the complete 2012 schedule.
The changes are: May 5, at Cleveland, 6:05 p.m.; June 2, at Anaheim, 9:05 p.m.; June 24 vs. Colorado, 6:05 p.m.; July 1 vs. Oakland, 6:05 p.m.; July 8, vs. Minnesota, 6:05 p.m.; July 29, vs. Chicago, 6:05 p.m.; Sept. 3, at Kansas City, 1:10 p.m.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760