Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman abruptly resigned from one of the hottest teams in baseball Thursday, saying he thought the franchise wasn’t committed to him over the long term.
Riggleman quit because the Nationals weren’t prepared to pick up the option on his contract for next year, further reinforcing his feeling that he was merely a placeholder manager until the team could find someone better.
“It’s been brewing for a while,” Riggleman said in a clubhouse that went from festive to stunned after completing a sweep of the Seattle Mariners. “I know I’m not Casey Stengel, but I do feel like I know what I’m doing. It’s not a situation where I felt like I should continue on such a short lease.”
His decision caught the franchise by surprise. General manager Mike Rizzo said he’ll announce Friday who will manage the team this weekend during a road series against the Chicago White Sox.
“Jim told me pregame today that if we wouldn’t pick up his option, then he wouldn’t get on the team bus today,” Rizzo said. “I felt that the time wasn’t right for me to pick up the option, and certainly today’s conversation put to me in the way it was put to me, you certainly can’t make that decision in a knee-jerk reaction. It’s too big of a decision.”
Riggleman’s version of events was slightly different. He said he requested that he and Rizzo have “a conversation” about his contract when the team arrived in Chicago. Regardless, Riggleman said he would have resigned had that conversation not resulted in some sort of contract security.
“I just felt if there’s not going to be some type of commitment, then there obviously never will be,” Riggleman said. “I’m just not the guy that they thought they could move forward with.”
Riggleman has been working on one-year deals since taking over for Manny Acta in July 2009. He was being paid $600,000 this year and the Nationals held a team option for 2012 at $600,000.
“I tell ya, I’ve been in this 10 years,” Riggleman said. “Maybe I’ll never get another opportunity, but I promise you I’ll never do it on a one-year deal again. … I’m sure they will never do it here. When they get the guy they want, it won’t be on a one-year deal.”
CLEMENS GAINS ACCESS TO MITCHELL EVIDENCE
The authors of the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball were ordered to give pitching legend Roger Clemens more of the evidence they used to accuse him of using steroids and human growth hormone.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ruled that Clemens needs the investigators’ notes of interviews with his accusers to defend himself in a criminal trial next month on charges he lied when he denied using drugs.
PROSECUTORS GRANTED TIME IN BONDS’ CASE
A federal judge gave prosecutors more time to decide whether career home run record-holder Barry Bonds should face another perjury trial.
Bonds’ criminal trial ended inconclusively April 13 when a jury convicted the seven-time MVP on an obstruction of justice count but deadlocked on three perjury charges, the allegations at the heart of the government’s case. Prosecutors tried to show that Bonds lied about using performance-enhancing drugs, which the slugger maintained he never knowingly took.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter threw for the third straight day as he rehabs a strained right calf muscle that landed him on the disabled list on June 14. … The Athletics put outfielder Josh Willingham on the 15-day DL because of a strained left Achilles’. … The Indians optioned outfielder Travis Buck to Triple-A Columbus. … Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge was recalled from his injury rehabilitation assignment. Inge had been on the DL with mononucleosis.