Ron Washington's official statement

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Here’s the full transcript of Ron Washington’s official statement, released by the Rangers following news that he tested positive for cocaine last year:

I am here today to apologize for a huge mistake I made during the first half of the season in 2009. I am not here to make excuses. There are none. I am not here to ask for sympathy. That would be asking too much.



I fully understand that I disappointed a lot of people–my family, my players, coaches, as well as the team’s leadership, especially Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels, as well as young people who may have looked up to me. I am truly sorry for my careless, dangerous, and frankly, stupid, behavior last year. Clearly, you have never seen me speak from a script before. But this is a time that I need to get the words exactly right.



Here’s the biggest question: how and why did this happen? That’s a question I have had to face in numerous sessions with counselors. I’ve learned a lot about myself personally, and I recognize that this episode was an attempt to dodge personal anxieties and personal issues I needed to confront. That was the wrong way to do it. It was self-serving, and believe me, not worth it.



I know you will ask, and so here’s the answer: this was the one and only time I used this drug. I made a huge mistake, and it almost caused me to lose everything I have worked for all of my life. Shortly after I did this, MLB notified me that I would have a routine drug test. Before even taking the test, I notified the league about the drug use. Right after that test, I told Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan about my shameful behavior. I offered them my resignation.



They asked a lot of difficult questions. Remarkably, these two men, after a lot of thought and prayer, allowed me to stay here through last season. However, they also directed me to immediately begin MLB’s drug treatment program, which is a thorough and exhaustive process, and it includes the administration of drug tests at least three times a week. I am proud to report to you that I have completed that program. I am not proud to admit this terrible error.



This morning, I talked to our players. I assured them that this will never happen again, and I asked them to forgive me. In the true spirit of a “team,” they seemed to embrace me not only as a manager but as a human being. I won’t let you down again. Please know that I will personally take on the challenge of telling young people my story and my mistake. I don’t know what form that will take, but I am committed to do that.



I am hopeful that our fans, both Rangers fans and Major League Baseball fans, will accept this heartfelt and humble attempt to say: I’m so sorry for what I did.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.

Nationals acquire closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 20, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.

Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.

With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.

Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.

Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.

The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.