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Texas Rangers manager admits using drugs as a player

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington admitted Thursday that he used amphetamines and smoked marijuana during his playing days.

"When you're young, you make mistakes," Washington said. "I wish I could take back some of the mistakes I made when I was young, but I can't. The mistakes I made when I was young don't have anything to do with what I'm facing today."

He said he used marijuana during his time in the minor leagues from 1971 to '81 and occasionally used amphetamines while he was in the majors. Washington, 57, played for four teams over 10 seasons, with the bulk of his major-league time coming between 1981 and 1989. During his playing days, the use of amphetamines was common in a clubhouse.

He knows that doesn't make what he did right.

"I can just keep repeating: I made some mistakes in my younger days and I want to get past them," he said. "I want to move forward."

The Rangers are trying to do just that.

General manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers knew about Washington's drug use as a player, but that hasn't changed their thinking about their manager.

"There's a distinction in what people do in their youth vs. later in life," Daniels said. "I'm sure there are things we all have in our past we're not proud of. Ron could have avoided the question or lied. He chose not to. I'm not going to punish a guy for being honest. That doesn't excuse the behavior, but that's reality."

It hasn't changed the players' approach toward Washington either, especially given the delicate topics of drug use from more than 20 years ago.

"Now we're on a slippery slope," third baseman Michael Young said. "Give me a break. As far as I'm concerned, he should have no questions to answer apart from what happened in this particular instance."

Washington used cocaine last season and failed a random drug test. He talked about the incident Wednesday during a news conference.

He since has been inundated by calls and texts from well-wishers. Washington, still emotional while talking to the media Thursday, hasn't had a chance to return messages, but said he will in time.

Read more of this story at Star-Telegram.com

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