The Washington Times - June 23, 2011, 08:02PM

Plenty of reaction swirling around Nationals Park after Jim Riggleman’s shocking resignation Thursday. Here are comments from a handful of players I couldn’t fit into the main piece on the departure.

JASON MARQUIS

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Reaction: “I guess we’ll probably never know (why). I wish him the best of luck at whatever opportunity arises for him.”

What’s next: “We have to keep playing baseball the way we’ve been playing. Good pitching. Timely hitting. Guys grinding it out. … The last few weeks you’ve been seeing what happens when these guys start to have better at bats.”

Felt about resignation: “Obviously it’s disappointing. Obviously Jim was a big part of this to get to this point to get to .500 this late in the season. Hopefully Nationals fans are excited about it. We wished Jim could’ve finished it out, but, ultimately, we’ve still gotta win ballgames.”

If Riggleman deserved to have option picked up: “It’s not my decision to make. You could say that for hundreds of players throughout baseball when an option is on their contact. We play baseball. We make pitches. Jim makes moves.”

JERRY HAIRSTON

Reaction: “I’ve been around a while, but I think this is the first time I’ve been on a club where the manager resigned or got fired. This is obviously is a new experience for a bunch of us. You hate to see it happen. But I have respect for Jim Riggleman as a person, as a man, as a manger and I’ve got an awful lot of respect for Mike Rizzo. You never know what goes on behind closed doors.”

Bounce back: “This is the big leagues. You’ve got a job to do. That’s the bottom line. Our job is to win ballgames. No one’s going to feel sorry for you.”

Expect this: “This was probably the last thing we expected. It’s a shock. But that’s the nature of this business. You never know what’s going to happen. … What happened in the last hour is shocking. But we’ve got to move forward.”

What happened: “It’s one of those things where you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. … I can see (Riggleman’s) side of the story and I can see Rizzo’s side. You wish (Riggleman) the best. He did what he needed to do. … I’ve had nothing but great experiences with him. He’s a good man.”

IAN DESMOND

Reaction: “We had no idea. Kind of shocked. Mostly shocked. No one knew what to think but we’ve still got to go out and play.”

Feelings about Riggleman: “In sports or any business you have to make decisions. He gave me every opportunity to play in the big leagues and succeed. I thank him for that. I played hard for him and I know he did his best to contribute and win the games.”

What next: “I think with the veteran presence we have and pitching staff, we’re going to win ballgames regardless. I think this is a business decision and there’s no doubt in my mind his heart was with the team. I think this was just the decision he had to make and Rizzo, likewise. It’s not only about playing the game, there’s a huge business part that a lot of people don’t realize. There’s crazier things that have happened contractually.”