- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 3, 2007

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Former Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson is back in baseball.

Yesterday, Robinson rejoined the commissioner’s office as a special advisor to Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations. Robinson’s employment with the league office begins on Monday.

Robinson served as baseball’s vice president for on-field operations from 2000 to 2002. Robinson will report directly to Solomon and advise him on a variety of baseball matters.

“I am delighted that Frank has decided to rejoin us at Major League Baseball,” MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in a prepared statement. “We are grateful to have the opportunity once again to tap into his knowledge and experience.”

Once Robinson — in the Hall of Fame as a player — learned last season that he would not return as Washington’s manager, he said he would be receptive to a meaningful role in the Nationals’ crowded front office. The best offer Robinson received from the Nationals was an all-expenses-paid trip to spring training as a uniformed special instructor. Robinson declined.

“I talked with Frank earlier this week and told Frank that our door continued to be open for him here with the Nationals and that he would always be invited,” Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said. “He said that he would keep that in mind for the future, but right now we’re all very happy for his new role in the commissioner’s office.”

In addition, the Nationals will not hold a special “Frank Robinson Day” this year at RFK Stadium. The club had initially targeted a May 20 interleague game against the Baltimore Orioles as the day Robinson was to be honored.

Death in the family

Reliever Chris Schroder had to travel to Oklahoma yesterday to attend the funeral of his paternal grandmother. Catcher Brian Schneider drove Schroder to the airport while yesterday’s Grapefruit League opener was still in progress at Holman Stadium.

Schroder was supposed to pitch in the ninth inning but was bumped up to the fifth inning so he could leave Florida faster. Schroder said his 90-year-old grandmother’s funeral is scheduled for today. Schroder will rejoin the Nationals tomorrow.

Schroder’s one inning didn’t go smoothly. He allowed three runs on two hits with former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Larry Bigbie crushing a three-run homer to right field. The young reliever said his heavy heart didn’t affect his performance.

“We’ve known for a couple of months that she was going to pass, so it wasn’t a surprise,” Schroder said. “Once I got out there [on the mound], I was fine. It’s always hard, but you expect it. But, when I was out there, I was all right.”

Schneider out for Monday

Schneider will miss Monday’s game against the Atlanta Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to attend the birth of his first child.

Schneider’s wife, Jordan, will be induced Monday morning.

Staff writer Mark Zuckerman contributed to this article.

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