Gardenhire backs ex-teammate Washington

Gardenhire backs ex-teammate Washington

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington has already been mentioned as a potential American League Manager of the Year candidate for the job he's done this season, as his club entered Tuesday with an 8 1/2-game lead in the AL West.

One person that seems to be quite happy for Washington is Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. The two were teammates during Spring Training in 1987, when both were competing for the final spot on the Twins' 25-man roster, although it ended up going to Al Newman. Prior to that, Washington had spent parts of six seasons with the Twins from 1981-86.

"Wash was in our organization and he knows what we liked over here, and I think he enjoys that part, playing the game hard," Gardenhire said of Washington's managing philosophy. "He was with Oakland a number of years, and they always played the game hard, and I think when he came over here, that was one of the things he was going to bring here.

"He's a very motivational person. He does well motivating people. He loves the game of baseball. He has a very deep passion for it, and it shows in his team because they are playing with a lot of passion."