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Matt Williams officially named Nationals manager

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Matt Williams is the new manager of the Washington Nationals.

The team announced the hire Thursday morning, though the news first broke last Friday. Major League Baseball discourages teams from making major announcements during the World Series, which ended Wednesday night.

Williams will be introduced Friday at a news conference at Nationals Park.

"I feel privileged and honored to be a part of this team," Williams said in a news release announcing his hire. "It's a wonderful group of guys and a great organization. I'm simply here to help take us to the next level."

The 47-year-old has spent the past four seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff, the last three as third base coach. The former third baseman was a five-time All-Star during his 17-season career in the majors with the Giants, Indians and Diamondbacks. He retired in 2003.

"Matt has a wealth of knowledge and experience as a former player and coach," Nationals owner Ted Lerner said in a statement. "But what most impresses us is his ability to understand and ably communicate situations and strategies in a disciplined, forthright manner. We think he is the right leader for a Washington Nationals team ready to compete for a World Series championship."

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo worked with Williams in Arizona, leading to speculation early on that Williams would be a leading candidate to replace Davey Johnson.

"I could not be more pleased to welcome Matt Williams and his family to the Nationals and the Nation's Capital," Rizzo said in a statement. "In some ways, my interview with Matt began during our days together in Arizona, where his undeniable toughness, attention to detail and intensity established a foundation for a Diamondbacks expansion franchise that reached the postseason in its second season and won a World Series two years later.

"All these years later, Matt's preparedness for this position, knowledge of our roster, system and league set him apart. He is a fierce competitor with a progressive view of the game."

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