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Rangers hire Howe away from Phils to be bench coach

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Art Howe has been hired as bench coach for the Texas Rangers and first-time manager Ron Washington.

Howe's hiring was confirmed by two baseball officials with knowledge of the decision. The Rangers were unable to announce the move Wednesday because the necessary paperwork had not been finalized with the commissioner's office.

The move means Don Wakamatsu, the club's bench coach the past four seasons and a finalist for the managerial job, will be in a different role if he stays in Texas. He could become the third-base coach but is also a candidate in Oakland to replace fired manager Ken Macha.

Washington was a coach in Oakland the past 11 seasons, the first seven (1996-2002) when Howe was the Athletics' manager. When introduced as Buck Showalter's replacement Monday, Washington said he wanted Howe to be his bench coach.

"Being a first-time manager, I may be here, and that's pretty darn good," Washington said then, holding his hands about a foot apart and then putting them on an even plane. "But I want to get up here. ... I know he can bring me from here up."

Howe, hired just three weeks ago by the Philadelphia Phillies to be Charlie Manuel's third-base coach and infield instructor, was a major-league manager for 14 seasons with three teams. Besides Oakland, he managed the Houston Astros (1989-93) and New York Mets (2003-04).

"I admired the way he did things and how sharp he was," Washington said. "Art is the kind, I don't think he has an ego. He's about helping everybody."

Washington's only managerial experience was in Class A for the Mets in 1993 and '94, when he had a 123-153 record.

This will be Howe's second stint as a Texas assistant. He was on Bobby Valentine's staff with the Rangers from 1985-88.

The Phillies gave Texas permission to talk to Howe. That interview was Tuesday, the same day the rest of their coaches were in Philadelphia for the start of organizational meetings.

Steve Smith isn't expected to return as the Rangers' third-base coach and infield instructor. His contract expired at the end of the season, plus Washington and Howe are both infield coaches.

Wakamatsu has a year left on his Rangers contract.