For Robinson, Time Brings Altered View

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 18, 2008

NEW YORK, April 17 -- Frank Robinson is now 18 months removed from his last time in a major league uniform, the last game he served as the manager of the Washington Nationals. At the time his contract wasn't renewed by the club, he was upset, and the way the transition was handled left him bitter.

Thursday at Shea Stadium, however, Robinson wandered into the Nationals' clubhouse, sat with his replacement, Manny Acta, in his office, and even talked with General Manager Jim Bowden in the clubhouse and by the batting cage. The time away, Robinson said, has given him a different perspective.

"What I've [done] is stepped back and said, 'Do I miss it? No,' " Robinson said. "And I think what it was, it was probably time for me to do something else."

Robinson, 72, works for Major League Baseball. He said when his tenure with the Nationals ended, he couldn't understand it was time to move on.

"You don't," Robinson said. "You're too close to the situation. If I had still been managing, I still think I could've done the job. But I think it's just time to get away from it for me."

Robinson said he watches three games on television each night, but the Nationals are always on the biggest screen.

Cordero Understands

A day after closer Chad Cordero had an alarming performance -- throwing his fastball between 76 and 82 mph -- Cordero said he understood why Acta wouldn't use him in closing situations until his velocity improves.

"I understand it," he said. "It's going to be strange for me. Who knows how long that's going to be? Hopefully, it's not very long. But in order for me to do that, I have to get in there and throw some innings. Hopefully I'm not throwing once a week. That's not going to help very much. . . . For me, the more I throw, the stronger I get."

Acta said that while Jon Rauch would close, "It doesn't have to be a blowout" for Cordero to get a chance. Cordero is still hoping the warmer weather in Florida will help loosen him up.

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