Girardi takes himself out of running for Nationals job

WASHINGTON -- Joe Girardi told the Washington Nationals he
doesn't want to be their new manager, becoming the second
high-profile candidate to withdraw from consideration for the job.

"He notified the Washington Nationals he was taking his name
off the list of candidates. It was a hard decision," Girardi's
agent, Steve Mandell, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

"At this time, it wasn't the right decision to go to the
team," Mandell said.

The agent said Girardi is "looking at a couple of different
options," but wouldn't elaborate.

Girardi was fired this month by the Florida Marlins after one
season as their manager. The Marlins were baseball's youngest team
and had the lowest payroll in the majors at $15 million, yet they
went 78-84 and were in contention for a playoff berth until late
September. Girardi is considered a leading contender to win the NL
Manager of the Year award.

He interviewed with the Nationals and, at the start of their
search, was thought to be a top candidate along with Lou Piniella,
who ruled himself out two weeks ago and eventually was hired by the
Chicago Cubs.

The Nationals told Frank Robinson he wouldn't be back as manager
shortly before the end of the team's third consecutive last-place season.

General manager Jim Bowden and president Stan Kasten haven't
been commenting on their search for a replacement.

Girardi's withdrawal was first reported by The Washington Post.
In a telephone interview, he told the newspaper: "I think it's a
wonderful job. But I think I came to the conclusion at this time
that it's not the right move for my family."

Girardi and his wife Kim have three children and moved to Miami less than a year ago when he took the Marlins job.

Girardi also downplayed speculation that he took himself out of the running in Washington in the hopes that he might return to the New York Yankees, where he previously served as Joe Torre's bench coach. Torre's contract expires after 2007.

"That has nothing to do with it," he told the Post. "I have too much respect for Joe Torre to ever think like that. I think Joe should manage as long as he wants. I had no thoughts about the Yankees in making this decision."

Girardi, who is working as an analyst for Fox's World Series coverage, told the Post he could have other TV opportunities next season. And he said that a return to the field next year is "definitely a possibility, yes," despite his family concerns. A source familiar with the situation told Newsday on Wednesday that Girardi had decided to spend the 2007 season as a broadcaster; the YES Network is believed to be one of his options.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.