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Rangers tell manager Ron Washington they want him back after this season, will address later

The AL West-leading Texas Rangers have told manager Ron Washington that they want him back after this season.

Washington is in his fourth season, the last on his current contract. Texas went into Friday night's game at Oakland leading the second-place Athletics by 8½ games, by far the largest gap in any of baseball's six divisions.

Team president Nolan Ryan, whose group with Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg is expected to be approved next week as the team's new owners, indicated that Washington's contract would be addressed after the season.

"We've told Wash that we want him back and we'll address it at the appropriate time, and he's very comfortable with that," Ryan said. "Obviously, we anticipate him being back next year. As far as working out the details and stuff, that will be done at the appropriate time. There aren't things right now that are incomplete as far as people not knowing."

The Rangers have improved their record each season under Washington, who is 304-290 overall in his first managerial job.

There was no contract extension last year despite 87 wins and a second-place finish in the AL West. But Ryan stuck by Washington last summer after the manager admitted to using cocaine once, a revelation that became public during spring training this year.

Washington had been an assistant coach in Oakland for 11 seasons when he was hired after the 2006 season to replace the fired Buck Showalter. Washington's original contract was a two-year deal with club options for 2009 and 2010 that were both exercised.

Ryan said he and general manager Jon Daniels have discussed Washington and "felt like we wanted him back" in 2011. They also would like to re-sign left-hander Cliff Lee, the ace acquired last month, and possibly do a long-term deal with slugger Josh Hamilton, the majors' leading hitter who is eligible for salary arbitration again this winter.

"When the season's over and any postseason play is over with, then that will be the focus on taking care of Ron and the coaches and people like that," Ryan said. "And then addressing player situations, whether it be Josh or trying to sign Cliff Lee or whomever it might be."

Daniels' contract goes through next season.