- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 14, 2006

DETROIT — Commissioner Bud Selig said yesterday he has spoken twice in the last five days with all major league teams with managing openings, including the Washington Nationals, to re-emphasize his directive to include minority candidates in the interview process.

“I have had our people — and I have talked to every club looking for a manager — [say] that I expect them to follow the guidelines and have very sincere, aggressive interviews with minority candidates,” Selig said from the press box at Comerica Park before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

“There are a lot of reasons for it,” Selig said. “But what I have always said to the clubs is to have your managerial pool be as broad as it can be. There are some wonderful candidates now available. I expect them to be interviewed, and I am hopeful. … I was happy with what Florida did, they hired a minority (Freddy Gonzalez, replacing Joe Girardi), but that should just be the beginning of it.

“Willie Randolph and Ozzie Guillen haven’t done too badly the last couple of years. Every club looking for a manager has been reminded, not once, but twice this week.”

Washington opted not to renew the contract of Frank Robinson, the first black manager in major league history, at the end of the season.

According to sources, the organization already has met (or plans to meet) with Girardi, former Giants and Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Atlanta Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton, Yankees first base coach Tony Pena, Houston Astros bench coach Cecil Cooper and Chicago White Sox third base coach Joey Cora.

The Nationals may also have interest in candidates whose teams are still in the playoffs, such as New York Mets coaches Manny Acta and Jerry Manuel.

Washington met with Lou Piniella, but the former Yankees, Reds, Mariners and Devil Rays manager pulled himself out of the running because he wasn’t interested in running a young, rebuilding team.

Team president Stan Kasten confirmed that MLB officials have spoken with the club and stressed that the organization has been complying with the directive from the start.

“He is very much interested in encouraging diversity, and he’s more interested in it than any commissioner that came before him,” Kasten, when reached by phone, said of Selig. “The one thing we have said is that our search will be inclusive and diverse. I can say that is, in fact, the case.”

Three other teams besides the Nationals — the Cubs, Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants — also have managerial openings.

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