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Washington: I used marijuana, amphetamines as player

SURPRISE, Ariz. - A day after acknowledging he failed a drug test for cocaine last year, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington admits he used marijuana and amphetamines while he was a player.

"When you're young, you make mistakes," Washington, 57, said yesterday. "I wish I could take back some of the mistakes I may have made, but I can't."

On Wednesday, Washington said he tested positive for cocaine in a Major League Baseball test last July. He told Rangers management and MLB about the cocaine - he said he used it only once - before the test result and offered to resign. Rangers president Nolan Ryan and team management allowed him to keep his job.

Washington did not detail how often he used marijuana and amphetamines, or describe what kind of amphetamines he took.

Washington said his mistakes from years ago have nothing to do with the issue he's facing now. "I made mistakes in my younger days," he said. "I want to get past it, move forward and get back on the field and start winning some ballgames."

All-Star third baseman Michael Young, the team's longest-tenured player, said what Washington did as a player was a non-issue in his eyes. He said discussion about amphetamine use among players in the 1970s and 1980s was a "slippery slope." "We're hopeful this will bring us together, and we can rally around each other a little more," Young said. "Asking about dissension or a distraction, it's a fair question. But it's not relevant in this clubhouse. We have a solid group of guys in here and they're not going to judge somebody on a mistake and not on their worst moment."

All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton, whose own drug troubles have been well chronicled, reiterated Thursday that he appreciated Washington's approach.

"The way he has handled the situation, I have more respect for him now," Hamilton said. "He didn't hide behind anything, didn't make excuses. He was honest and that's a quality you want in a leader, somebody who recognizes the mistakes and can tell you about them so you can learn from it."

He said he heard from family, friends and former players in the previous 48 hours and that "it was all love. These people know Ron Washington. I am a good person. No, I'm not a good person. I'm a damn good person. And I'm proud. And I fight. And I'm hungry. And I made a mistake." - AP

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