SEATTLE -- With the new ownership group about to be in place, Rangers president Nolan Ryan made it clear their feelings about manager Ron Washington.Ryan said the Rangers want and expect Washington to be back in 2011 and beyond. The Rangers will wait until the end of the season to discuss an actual extension, but it's a foregone conclusion. "That's awesome," Washington said. "I want to be here. With everything that's been going on, the business stuff is not something we want to think about right now. We're trying to make sure things on the field don't get distracted. "But I'm very pleased. I want to be a part of what's happening here in Texas and I'm glad to hear Chuck Greenberg, Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan feel that way about me. But I never doubted their feelings." Washington is in his fourth year as the Rangers' manager but is unsigned for next season. He probably would have received a contract extension last year if not for a one-time positive test for cocaine last summer. That incident is behind him, but now the Rangers have been waiting for the ownership situation to get resolved. "I've talked to Wash," Daniels said. "I love working with the guy. He's done a very good job. But we've been consistent in saying let's keep everybody's focus on the field and address other matters afterward. It's very clear that Ron is our guy and Ron will be our manager in 2011."
Players weigh in on ownership change
SEATTLE -- Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler and reliever Darren Oliver both had unique reactions to the group led by Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg winning Wednesday's auction and getting control of the franchise."We're happy we don't have to answer any questions anymore," Kinsler said. "We're all happy it's over with," third baseman Michael Young said. "At least I know my owner personally," Oliver said. "And I played with my owner. How many players can say they played with their owner. Nobody in this clubhouse can say that." Oliver was a rookie in 1993 when Ryan was in his 27th and final season with the Rangers. Now Ryan is the club president and will remain in that position after Greenberg's group held off the challenge of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Houston businessman Jim Crane. "We all wanted to see Chuck and Nolan's hard work rewarded, and it has been," Young said. "None of us doubt Mark Cuban would be a great owner in baseball, but everybody is happy that Chuck and Nolan get to see this through." Said David Murphy, "I think it's awesome. Chuck Greenberg is awesome and obviously everybody wanted Nolan to be a part of this team from the beginning. It's the best possible combination."
Kinsler still not cleared for live action
SEATTLE -- Ian Kinsler has been on the disabled list for a week with a strained left groin muscle. He celebrated the milestone event by doing nothing special."I'm saying hooray in the dugout when we score a run," Kinsler said. That's it as far as baseball activities. Kinsler is working out, getting treatment and playing lots of chess with new teammate Cliff Lee. But his return does not appear to be a quick one, although he'll get a better idea on Monday when he gets an MRI and is re-examined by Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington. "I really don't know," said Kinsler, who missed the first month of the season with a sprained ankle. "After that whole ankle thing, I've learned my lesson in not setting timetables. Right now Meister wants to do an MRI back in Arlington and go from there basically." The only baseball activity Kinsler is allowed right now is to throw, but he has to do it while standing on one knee.
Rangers face decision on affiliates
SEATTLE -- Nolan Ryan is not only the Rangers' club president but he remains owner of the Houston Astros' Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock and their Double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi. The Rangers' Triple-A affiliate is in Oklahoma City and their Double-A affiliate is in Frisco.Ryan acknowledged the possibility that the Rangers could switch their Triple-A affiliate to Round Rock next year and others have suggested it's already a done deal, even though they have worked with Oklahoma City since 1983. The Astros' farm system is not nearly as strong as the Rangers, and there has been some disgruntlement in Round Rock over the situation. As far as Corpus Christi, Ryan said the Rangers want the Double-A team to stay in nearby Frisco. Mandalay Entertainment owns the Frisco team and is also in the process of buying the Oklahoma City ballclub. That could make things interesting. "There's been discussions about whether Round Rock would come in and replace Oklahoma City," Ryan said. "I think the Corpus ballclub will stay associated with Houston. As far as our A-ball clubs, it's hard to say if it will affect them or not because of what availabilities there are and stuff of that nature." Chuck Greenberg is also part-owner of Class A Myrtle Beach (S.C.) in the high Class A Carolina League. The Rangers currently have their high Class A team in Bakersfield in the California League, and that team plays in one of the worst ballparks in baseball. The Rangers have been looking for a better situation, and Myrtle Beach might be the answer. But that club is currently affiliated with the nearby Atlanta Braves and the two have a strong relationship, so there is no guarantee the Rangers will move into Myrtle Beach. "Those things start developing in September," Ryan said. "So I think if there's going to be some changes that there will probably be some discussion about that here shortly.
Hicks shares parting thoughts
SEATTLE -- Current Rangers owner Tom Hicks will not be with the new ownership group. Hicks was going to be a minority partner under the terms of the agreement reached in January, but all that changed when the club went into voluntary bankruptcy and all side deals were removed when the club went up for auction.Hicks, who has owned the team since 1998, will no longer be a part of the Rangers in any capacity once the new ownership group takes over a week from now. "Our family is both relieved and energized that this sale is finally near completion," Hicks said in a statement on Thursday. "I have said many times that you never really own a baseball franchise; you hold it in trust for the fans. Chuck Greenberg, Nolan Ryan and their local investors will be superb stewards of the Texas Rangers. You have to admire their endurance, dedication and commitment over the past 15 months to get this transaction complete. "Although the Chapter 11 strategy had it's skeptics, it resulted in a win-win for all parties. I also have to commend Judge Michael Lynn and Judge Russell Nelms, who effectively directed and managed these complex proceedings with so many participants and divergent interests. "Finally, the Hicks family will always love this ballclub. We are proud of the success we have enjoyed in recent years under the leadership of Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels and believe the club is well-positioned for the future with a first-place team and the strongest Minor League system in baseball. We will always consider ourselves as huge fans of the Texas Rangers."
Rangers manager Ron Washington said catcher Taylor Teagarden will start on Friday in the first game in Oakland. ... Michael Young now has four career grand slams. The club record is seven, held by Juan Gonzalez and Rafael Palmeiro. ... Young's home run was on Wednesday his 153rd with the Rangers. He is tied with Mark Teixeira for seventh in club history, one behind Dean Palmer. ... The Rangers' 11 runs on Wednesday were their most in a road game this season.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.