Rodriguez to manage through season
MIAMI -- Edwin Rodriguez told the Florida Marlins' top executives last weekend that he would happily accept whatever job they wanted him to have.
Turns out, they want him to remain the manager.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told the team before its game in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday night that Rodriguez will stay on as manager through the rest of the 2010 season. The club made the announcement in the second inning of its 7-6 victory over the New York Mets.
"I have to say, I was surprised. I just heard 30 minutes before the game," Rodriguez said with a grin.
Rodriguez is the first native of Puerto Rico to manage in the major leagues. He was named interim manager last Wednesday when Florida fired Fredi Gonzalez, its all-time winningest skipper. Gonzalez was dismissed after going 276-279 in 3 1/2 seasons.
Rodriguez said he's looking forward to telling his family and friends in person once he gets over the shock.
"It was a special night for him, and a special night for the team," said second baseman Dan Uggla, who homered and hit the game-winning single in the ninth inning. "To get this situation resolved, well, it just feels like a really positive thing."
With their victory, the Marlins improved to 3-4 under Rodriguez. Minutes before the first pitch, he was embraced warmly by his players in the dugout.
"They were very excited. They hugged me, they talked to me," Rodriguez said. "All the guys were great."
The Marlins also interviewed former third-base coach Bo Porter, now with Arizona, and had interest in ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine before deciding to stay with Rodriguez. On Sunday, Loria said the process would take "as long as it takes," adding that the organization would make sure "we get the right guy."
Loria said he told Rodriguez just before the game of his decision.
"At the end of the year we'll re-evaluate things," Loria said in the press box during the game. "What will always be my first and foremost concern are the players. I thought the continuity ... was the most important thing we could do. Edwin's going to be their manager. The coaches will continue that are in place. Continuity's important."
For now, anyway, that's what Rodriguez represents.
"I think it's huge," outfielder Chris Coghlan said. "It means we don't have to be in limbo. ... I think it gives everybody peace of mind."
Valentine was once thought to be the front-runner before talks slowed late last week, then broke off.
"I wish them all the success in the world," Valentine wrote in an e-mail.
Valentine has been to the postseason in the majors twice, leading the New York Mets to the World Series in 2000, where they lost to the Yankees.
He has a long relationship with Loria, having managed the Texas Rangers when Loria owned that franchise's Triple-A affiliate. Valentine has a record in the majors of 1,117-1,072, and ended a six-year run as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan's Pacific League in 2009.
Before getting summoned to replace Gonzalez, Rodriguez -- who said his interview with the Marlins on Saturday was his first formal interview in a 30-year baseball career -- was managing Florida's Triple-A team in New Orleans.
"Edwin deserves a chance to see what he can do," Loria said. "And I want to give him that chance. I like his levelheadedness and I like his focus on the game."
Loria entered this season with expectations of the Marlins being a playoff contender. They are 37-40, in fourth place in the NL East and 7 1/2 games behind first-place Atlanta.
"We can make it," Loria said. "We should be able to make a charge. I haven't given up on the season. Neither have the players."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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