Nationals Notebook

Robinson Declines Celebration in His Honor

Nationals pitchers and catchers loosen up under the sunny Florida sky on their first day of spring training workouts.
Nationals pitchers and catchers loosen up under the sunny Florida sky on their first day of spring training workouts. (By Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 16, 2007

VIERA, Fla., Feb. 15 -- Former Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson has declined an offer to be honored by the club during a game this May, according to team president Stan Kasten, who said officials hold out hope that Robinson will reconsider.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Robinson said he had informed the team of his decision regarding the proposed May 20 celebration -- when the Nationals will host the Baltimore Orioles, for whom Robinson won the American League Most Valuable Player award in 1966 -- but that he preferred the club make any announcement. Robinson also said his replacement, Manny Acta, had asked Robinson to come to spring training as an instructor, an offer previously extended by General Manager Jim Bowden.

"It's nice to hear," Robinson said. "And it's very tempting, for me to hear it coming from him. But really, after thinking about it for a while, it's just not the right time."

When Bowden called Robinson last month to inform the 71-year-old Hall of Famer that the club had no paid jobs to offer, Robinson was incensed, feeling both Bowden and Kasten had misled him about his future with the organization. He reiterated Thursday that he is willing to help Acta with whatever advice he might need.

Kasten, meanwhile, said team officials -- led by Bowden -- would continue to stay in touch with Robinson about rekindling the idea of a celebration at RFK Stadium.

"I really hope he reconsiders," Kasten said in an e-mail.

Cordero Meets With GM

Closer Chad Cordero and his agent, Larry Reynolds, met for just more than half an hour late Thursday afternoon with Bowden in hopes of avoiding an arbitration hearing for Cordero, who is asking for $4.15 million while the club is offering $3.65 million. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, and both sides have expressed a desire to avoid such a clash.

"It could happen at any time," said Cordero, who added that the Nationals had made an offer for a long-term deal that would buy him out of his final two years of arbitration. "I don't think this is the last chance." . . .

Right fielder Austin Kearns was the latest position player to arrive, reporting Thursday and joining outfielders Ryan Church, Chris Snelling, Wayne Lydon and Kory Casto and infielders Josh Wilson and Larry Broadway. Everyone is due by Sunday.

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