06/23/10 7:21 PM EST
Marlins name Rodriguez interim manager
Triple-A New Orleans skipper replaces dismissed Gonzalez
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
The title he wears for now is interim as he replaces Fredi Gonzalez, who was dismissed from his duties early in the morning.
Promoted from Triple-A New Orleans, Rodriguez has familiarity with a number of current Marlins who played for him in recent years.
"It's kind of a bittersweet day for me," Rodriguez said. "Of course, everybody in this game wants to make it to the big leagues. It's no different for me. I want to make it in the big leagues.
"Then again, Fredi Gonzalez is a good friend. He's a good manager. He's an excellent human being, but the show has to continue. We have to go out there and play the game."
Marlins president David Samson made it clear that the organization is moving swiftly to find a permanent manager to take over a team that has been somewhat disappointing, with a 34-36 record heading into Wednesday night's game at Baltimore.
"I might be here a day, a week or I might be here a month. Who knows?" Rodriguez said. "I'm just here to enjoy the moment."
Samson confirmed that he has already spoken with former Rangers and Mets manager Bobby Valentine about the job.
The team will have internal and external candidates. On the surface, Valentine appears to be the front-runner. However, the team is not yet making that leap.
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Valentine has known Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria for more than 20 years. But until he interviews and expresses his views, the organization doesn't know if there will be a match.
"We really would like to have a permanent situation in place as soon as possible," Samson said. "It's hard to say. We have to interview. We have to coordinate schedules. We have to sit down with the candidate. But we work a lot of hours in a day."
Rodriguez has some big league playing experience in his past. From 1982-85, he played in parts of three seasons with the Yankees and Padres.
He's managed current players like Gaby Sanchez and Chris Coghlan at Triple-A, as well as a number of the relief pitchers.
"Most of those players, I'd already managed them in the Minor Leagues," Rodriguez said. "I spent a lot of time with them in Spring Training. I have a pretty good idea of the talent we have on this team.
"One thing that we have to focus on and improve is the bullpen. I did manage a lot of those guys in the Minor Leagues. I'll tell you what, in the Minor Leagues, they looked different."
Rodriguez, in his eighth season in the Marlins' organization, managed New Orleans for the past season-and-a-half. He previously spent two years as manager of Class A Greensboro (2007-08), two as manager of the Gulf Coast League Marlins (2005-06) and two as hitting coach for Double-A Carolina (2003-04).
Prior to joining the Marlins, he was in the Tampa Bay organization, managing Rookie-level Princeton for three seasons (2000-02) and Class A Hudson Valley for one (1999).
The Marlins are hoping that a new voice may inspire the team to improve on the field. If the team can turn it around, it will be largely because of improved pitching.
"Of course, there are different hitters here," Rodriguez said. "But sometimes I saw them facing the same hitters they faced in the Minor Leagues and something is different. It's a matter of trying to get the confidence back in them. Trying to get them to believe in themselves. They need to prove that they belong here."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.