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Ron Washington, Joba Chamberlain, Fernando Martinez and Jenrry Mejia

Yes, the Ron Washington story broke yesterday - great job by Jon Heyman, my former Newsday teammate - and I couldn't figure out what to say about it. This news carried a shock value that trumped, say, that of a positive steroids test for any player. At least, it did for me.

Ultimately, I viewed the entirety of the story - Washington's usage of cocaine, his decision to be proactive about what he suspected would be a positive drug test and then the Rangers' decision to keep Washington - through a non-emotional, business prism.

The Rangers clearly made a cost/benefit analysis, and calculated that they valued Washington enough as a manager to keep him on board despite this stunning indiscretion.

This piece by John Hickey, I thought, provided a full picture of what it was like at Rangers camp yesterday. Team president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels sounded quite honest in sharing their reactions from last July, when Washington alerted them of his likely posiitve test.

Washington, one of baseball's least phony people, sounded sincere in sharing his the anger he felt at himself. The fact that he insisted upon increased drug testing, even after he completed the required nine-month rehabilitation program, is impressive.

Will this impact the Rangers' season? I'd bet against it, but if Texas gets off to a poor start, the incident could surface again as a perceived distraction.

Interesting piece here by Craig Calcaterra, who writes, "Cocaine came closer to destroying baseball than anything since the Black Sox scandal. How a man who lived through it all the first time could get roped into it in 2009 is frankly startling." That's pretty much how I felt.

--Joba Chamberlain recorded his best outing of the spring yesterday, and he spoke strongly afterwards of his desire to be a starter. At this point, though, I'd be surprised if Chamberlain got the Yankees' fifth starter job over Phil Hughes. What Joe Girardi, Dave Eiland and Brian Cashman have to do is manage Hughes' innings limit in a more effective way than they did last year with Chamberlain.

Chamberlain, meanwhile, can serve as Mariano Rivera's primary setup man, and make sure to learn from Rivera, the Yankees' Yoda. Andy Pettitte, meanwhile, had a fine first Grapefruit League outing.

--Jim Baumbach spoke with Fernando Martinez's Dominican League general manager, Moises Alou. Meanwhile, within this second story is news that Jenrry Mejia pitched well again. And in both cases, the Mets should think big picture and start their two youngsters in the minor leagues.

Joel Sherman points out that, even in the short term, these 2010 Mets would benefit more from using Mejia as a starting pitcher in the minors, for they will likely be more desperate for a starter than for a reliever this season.


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