Washington leaves A's to join Braves' staff

Washington leaves A's to join Braves' staff

OAKLAND -- The A's have lost Ron Washington to the Braves, who hired the esteemed infield instructor as their third base coach under newly appointed manager Brian Snitker on Tuesday.

Washington, 64, had interviewed for the Atlanta manager's job, and his decision to join Snitker's staff, despite not landing the lead role, largely stemmed from his desire to be closer to his family in Louisiana.

"This is a unique professional opportunity for Wash, which allows him to be closer to his family in New Orleans," A's executive vice president Billy Beane said in a statement. "His professionalism and enthusiasm have left an indelible mark on everyone in our organization. We are all excited for him and wish him the best."

Washington, who guided the Rangers to consecutive World Series appearances in 2010-11, has long maintained his desire to manage again, and such an opportunity isn't readily available in Oakland, where manager Bob Melvin is under contract through the 2018 season.

The A's had a chance to hire Washington as their manager in 2003, but he was passed over and subsequently moved on to Texas, before returning to Oakland in May of last year to offer defensive guidance to shortstop Marcus Semien, who has dramatically improved at the position.

Several A's players took to Twitter on Tuesday when news of Washington's departure surfaced, including Danny Valencia, who tweeted: "Sad to see Ron Wash go. Wow. Honestly one of the hardest working coaches I've ever played for."

Third baseman Ryon Healy also chimed in: "Thank you for all that you have done for me Wash! You will be missed greatly."

A's lose several to free agency

A handful of A's players who were outrighted to Triple-A Nashville last week have opted for free agency, including longtime Oakland infielder Eric Sogard and pitchers Jarrod Parker, Henderson Alvarez, Fernando Rodriguez and Felix Doubront.

Pitchers Chris Smith and Donn Roach, catcher Matt McBride, outfielder Andrew Lambo and utility player Tyler Ladendorf have also declared for free agency.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.