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Nationals to interview coaches
12/10/2004 12:41 PM ET
ANAHEIM -- In need of filling some coaching vacancies, the Nationals interviewed several candidates on Friday, including Don Buford, Jose Cardenal, Matt Galante and Jose Rijo.

The Nationals need coaches for manager Frank Robinson's staff after third base coach Manny Acta took a similar position with the Mets, first base coach Jerry Morales resigned to be with his wife, who is battling lupus, and roving coach Claude Raymond was relieved of his duties by the team.

"It's important (to get the positions filled)," Robinson said. "You want to have an idea who is on the staff, and talk to them about my philosophies and how I want things done before we go to Spring Training. There are other things that are a little bit more important, and that's to acquire some players for these guys to coach -- the right players."

Buford is one candidate who would seem to be familiar with Robinson's philosophies. Buford and Robinson were teammates when both were with the Baltimore Orioles in the 1960s and early '70s. Together, they won three pennants and one World Series title. Buford also was a coach for Robinson when both were with the Giants and Orioles. If Buford comes on board, he most likely will be a third base coach.

Galante was the third base and infield coach for the Mets from 2002-04. He also was a longtime coach with the Astros and filled in for manager Larry Dierker for a month after Dierker suffered a grand mal seizure in 1999.

Cardenal was a first base coach for the Yankees, Devil Rays and Reds, and the Nationals are hoping to bring him in as a baserunning coach.

Cardenal said that he was semi-retired and that he was pleasantly surprised that interim general manager Jim Bowen called and asked him to come to Anaheim for an interview.

"When Jim got the job, he called me and he asked me if I was interested in a coaching job. I said, 'Sure.' I love baseball," Cardenal said. "He said, 'You could help us at any level.' That's the reason I'm here."

Rijo doesn't have coaching experience, but he played under Bowden for several seasons in Cincinnati. If Rijo is hired, the Nationals want him to be a bullpen coach.

'It would be awesome to be with the Nationals. We are definitely in discussions," Rijo said. "They have a bunch of great young people. Jim Bowden has a great ability for recruiting players."

Robinson said that he expects to hire the coaches before the Winter Meetings come to an end.

In other news, the Nationals are losing two scouts to the Mets. Russ Bove, who was a cross-checker and scouted in the Florida area, will be named the Mets' scouting director soon.

Fred Mazuca, who was a California scout for the Nationals, will also join the Mets staff.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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