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Nationals expected to bring in Bud Black, Dusty Baker for more interviews

Bud Black last season with the Padres. (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

As their search for a new manager narrows, the Nationals are expected to bring back Dusty Baker and Bud Black for second interviews, according to people familiar with the situation. At least seven candidates have been interviewed, but the Nationals are seemingly focusing on experience, as General Manager Mike Rizzo promised in announcing the firing of rookie manager Matt Williams earlier this month.

More candidates could be brought in, but Baker and Black offer strong resumes. Rizzo didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. The Nationals have been mum throughout the managerial search.

Baker, 66, was a three-time National League Manager of the Year — 1993, 1997 and 2000 — but hasn’t managed since being dismissed by the Reds after the 2013 season. He has reached the playoffs with three teams — the Reds, Giants and Cubs — and is known for his ability to lead and deal with big personalities. Baker has been around baseball long enough that he has worked with some members of the Nationals front office on previous teams.

Black, 58, who is seen across baseball as a top candidate based on his personality and deep knowledge of pitching, was fired midway through the Padres’ 2015 season, his ninth in the job. The small-market Padres never reached the playoffs under Black but he is a former major league pitcher and pitching coach. He is known for his communication skills and won the 2010 NL Manager of the Year award.

The Nationals’ search will continue as the World Series begins on Tuesday. Major League Baseball prohibits teams from making major announcements during the Series. So the Nationals could nearing their decision around then and be ready to announce their choice after.

Over the past two weeks, the Nationals have interviewed Baker, Black, former longtime Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, former Expos infielder/Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach, longtime Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, former infielder/Diamondbacks third base coach Andy Green and former infielder/Diamondbacks Class AAA manager Phil Nevin. The Nationals were reportedly also interested in former Nationals infielder/current TV analyst Alex Cora, who, like Wotus, Nevin, Green and Wallach, has no major league managing experience.

The Nationals have not scheduled an interview with former bench coach Randy Knorr, a popular choice among players, and have not contacted Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken Jr., who has no coaching or managing experience — suggesting that neither is considered a serious candidate.

Don Mattingly and the Dodgers parted ways on Thursday, adding another experienced person to the pool of available managerial candidates. But the Nationals have not contacted Mattingly.

The Mariners announced the hiring of Angels assistant general manager Scott Servais as their new manager on Friday, leaving four teams without managers: the Nationals, Marlins, Padres and Dodgers.