Nats sources say GM’s job in jeopardy

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Rijo was asked to take a leave of absence Saturday and returned to his home in the Dominican Republic. The team informed him Thursday morning that he had been fired. Kasten wouldn’t say whether he has evidence Rijo was in involved in forging Alvarez’s identity. Rijo has maintained his innocence.

“It’s just not a subject I’m going to touch,” Kasten said. “I did become convinced with what I had learned that it was time for us to finally go ahead and cut that cord.”

Also fired were Baez, manager of the Nationals’ Dominican program, as well as the entire coaching and administrative staffs at the San Cristobal facility owned by Rijo. The Nationals, with Rizzo running the show on-site, moved all their players and equipment out of the facility Thursday and will relocate next week to another complex in Boca Chica.

Fernando Ravelo, GM of the successful Tigres de Licey of the Dominican Winter League, will take over the operation.

“I’ve taken the action that I think is appropriate for this problem, both to deal with the problem and to fix the problem,” Kasten said. “I think we’ve accomplished both by doing this.”

Rijo and Bowden are also the subjects of an ongoing federal investigation into the reported skimming of signing bonuses given to Latin American prospects by employees of several MLB teams. On its Web site, Sports Illustrated reported this week that the FBI is investigating Bowden’s actions dating to 1994, when he served as GM of the Cincinnati Reds.

Bowden said earlier this week that he is “innocent of all wrongdoing,” but the specter of the investigation, which first became public last summer, has chafed members of the Nationals’ ownership group and convinced some that the GM should be fired.

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