Washington offered to resign. But he says he told both men: "The thing I want you to do for me the most is help me preserve my career. My reputation." Daniels and Ryan told him they had to do some investigating, and they'd get back to him on the off day.
"He broke down over it," Ryan says. "The realization set in that he might have destroyed what he had always wanted to be, which was a major league manager. But he was willing to do whatever we asked of him."
As they did their due diligence, Daniels says, MLB assured him that Washington had never had a prior positive test. Maybe it wasn't truly his first time using cocaine; in this day and age of baseball, people are skeptical about everything. Daniels warned Washington that, if the news got out, the public might not buy his story, that 57-year-old men don't generally use cocaine out of the blue. But Washington strongly reiterated his stance, and there was no evidence to discredit him. Ryan and Daniels admired his frankness from the previous day; plus, the team was playing well, and both men felt, from a purely selfish baseball standpoint, they were better off retaining him. What's more, without the game, they felt as if Washington might self-destruct. So they called him in, told him they would keep his drug use private and he should get ready for the second half of the season.
Baseball had gotten him into this mess; baseball would dig him out.
Dealing with the fallout
Washington promised there would never be a second positive test, and he would get to prove it. For the rest of the 2009 season, as well as the ensuing offseason, he says he underwent three mandatory drug tests a week, as well as psychiatric counseling. He felt cleansed. But the best antidote was how the Rangers finished the '09 regular season.
They finished in second place with an 87-75 record, and Ryan and Daniels felt better about sticking with their man. But with his contract expiring after the 2010 season, they still weren't going to rush into an extension, either. The fact was, Ryan had backup plans. He had hired former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle as a coach that offseason and had turned Buechele into a minor league manager. He had options if Washington slipped up in any way.
By spring training 2010, Washington was hoping it was all a nonissue. Vladimir Guerrero had joined the team's monster lineup, seemingly assuring another stirring season, just as Washington was completing his mandatory counseling and drug tests. He volunteered to continue the three tests a week, to give his bosses peace of mind, but, generally, he felt the incident was behind him.