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Riggleman returns to DC, puts past behind him

MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Jim Riggleman leaned back in his black chair in the opposing team manager's office at Nationals Park on Thursday afternoon and grinned.

"Hey!" Riggleman repeated three times as Washington reporters walked into the room to interview him, "Good to see you."

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WASHINGTON -- Jim Riggleman leaned back in his black chair in the opposing team manager's office at Nationals Park on Thursday afternoon and grinned.

"Hey!" Riggleman repeated three times as Washington reporters walked into the room to interview him, "Good to see you."

View Full Game Coverage

Riggleman returned to Washington as the Reds' manager Thursday for the first time since he resigned as the Nationals' manager over a contract dispute in 2011, and the 65-year-old was excited to see reporters he worked with in Washington.

Riggleman was born in New Jersey, but he grew up in Rockville, Md., where he delivered copies of the Washington Post. He also played baseball at Frostburg State University, so managing at Nationals Park holds extra significance for him.

"I wish we came here three times," Riggleman joked, "but that would mean you're facing Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez three times, and you don't really want to do that. ... I love it here."

The Nationals named Riggleman their bench coach in 2009, and they promoted him to interim manager that July because of Manny Acta's midseason departure, a role Riggleman later took over.

In 2011, on the day the Nationals moved over .500 in June for the first time since '05 and were in the midst of an 11-1 stretch, Riggleman resigned because the team had shown no inclination to pick up his option that would maintain his job in '12. Ryan Zimmerman and Strasburg are the only remaining players on the Nationals from the clubs Riggleman managed.

Riggleman, whom the Nationals later replaced with Davey Johnson, admitted leaving wasn't smart because he didn't know if he would manage again, but he felt it was the right decision.

"If I was ever upset or bitter about it, that was in the first couple months of it," Riggleman said. "It's been seven years. So much has happened differently since then. I'm a grandfather now. … It's a whole different world."

Riggleman managed Reds Minor League teams between 2012-14 before the Reds promoted him to third-base coach for the '15 season.

When the Nationals swept the Reds to open this season, Bryan Price was the manager, but Cincinnati relieved him of his duties April 19, making way for Riggleman to take over as interim manager. The Reds are 45-45 with Riggleman at the helm.

Riggleman's brother made the short drive to attend Thursday's game -- the first of a four-game set -- savoring the opportunity his sibling didn't think he'd obtain again.

"I didn't know how I would feel when I got a chance to manage again," Riggleman said, "but now that I am, I'm just totally enjoying the moment, not thinking about next year."

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.

Cincinnati Reds