ARLINGTON, Texas -- Several Texas Rangers players expressed shock over the sudden departure of Ron Washington as manager on Friday.
Washington addressed the team around 3 p.m. CT in an emotional meeting. Washington, who has developed close relationships with several players, didn't speak very long.
"[He's] very well thought of in that room," general manager Jon Daniels said of Washington.
Derek Holland, who just returned from microfracture surgery, took the news especially hard.
“The guy is like a father to me, and honestly I felt like I lost my dad,” Holland said. “He taught me a lot, both on and off the field, and like I said, he meant a lot to me. It’s going to be hard not to see Wash, especially walking down and going to the weight room and seeing him and goof off and making goofy comments to him.”
Washington lauded Holland for returning to the team and dismissed the notion that the left-hander would just miss the season.
"That's not in his makeup," Washington said.
Washington was a players' manager who didn't use the sabermetrics of the game to dictate his moves. He wasn't afraid to chew players out for making mistakes or applaud them for their efforts. During the Rangers' most recent road trip, Washington talked about playing his veterans and at times praised third baseman Adrian Beltre for being a professional during a difficult season where the Rangers find themselves with the worst record in the big leagues.
Former players confided in Washington in his office when they had issues on the field, and even came to him with personal, off-field issues. Former Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton would take naps in Washington's office and read the Bible with the now former manager.
"He was sad for sure," shortstop Elvis Andrus said of Washington during the meeting. "He didn't talk too much. He was really sad. You could see it in his face. He's a very emotional guy.
"I will always support him and I don’t know what happened actually, and as soon as I find out, then, hopefully, I will get a chance to talk to him, too."
The Rangers had extensive discussions with Washington over the past few weeks regarding his potential departure. Taking a leave of absence was discussed as a possibility, but Washington decided it was best to go for good.
"It's unfortunate what's happened," right-handed starter Colby Lewis said. "I go back with him five seasons now and he was always a determined guy, and I know how much of a baseball guy that he is and I know how hard this must be on him to go through this personal matter. I know he’ll be fine and he’ll bounce back from whatever is happening. I wish him nothing but the best. I'm praying for him."