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November 14, 2008

A Q&A with Ron Washington

Rangers manager Ron Washington flew in from New Orleans Thursday to check on the progress of the pitchers. He was at the Ballpark again Friday before flying back home. Here's a little bit of what he had to say.

Overall opinion of the conditioning camp? "I like the fact that the pitchers are here with a good attitude and trying to bring up their work ethic. That should result with us being better and them being better."

How important is it? "I think it's important for us and for them to let them know how much we care about them. We feel like they can be the guys that are in place for us to do what we have to do. The expectation level as far as work ethic has risen. This is just the beginning of what they have to do to prepare for the season."

What do you think of Mike Maddux? "I think he's a very astute pitching coach. He's very intelligent as far as individualizing pitchers and understanding what they need to do to be successful. He has some great ideas on how he's going to do it. He believes in work ethic, pounding the strike zone and fielding your position. He believes in all the things I believe it."

How important is that? "Everything else will take care of itself. A pitcher has to hit his spots. He's a great communicator and he'll be able to communicate with them individually while sending the same message to all of them."

What are your free agent thoughts? "We certainly need to help the bullpen. We need to see what fits and go from there."

What about position wise? "Kinsler's healthy. Mike is healthy. Hank's healthy. Chris can be a star. Cruz has crossed a line to what we thought he could do. Hopefully we get Byrd back and Murphy healthy. We've got Laird and Salty and Teagarden. The competition is going to be tough. We'll have to wait and see what other pieces belong."

What about a veteran third baseman? "We haven't sat down and started discussing things in that perspective yet. We want to build from within. If we can't do it from within, we have to go outside."

What about Michael Young getting the Gold Glove? "That's awesome. I've always said he's sure handed. He's accurate with his arm. Whatever he gets to he catches. He beat out some good company. He should be proud because I know I'm proud of him."

- Anthony Andro

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