Managerial search slowly progressing

The Nationals continue to keep the details of their managerial search hush-hush, but as we get deeper into October, things are slowly starting to progress in that area.

The team will interview former big league catcher and current Padres special assistant to baseball operations Brad Ausmus, a source familiar with the Nationals’ plans confirmed. first reported that Ausmus would interview for the Nationals’ managerial job.

Ausmus, 44, played 18 seasons in the big leagues from 1993-2010, suiting up for four different teams in that time. He moved into the Padres front office shortly after his retirement.

Long thought to have what it takes to become a major league manager, even dating to his playing days, Ausmus does come with some managerial experience, although it isn’t much.

He skippered Israel’s World Baseball Classic entry in the September 2012 qualification round to the World Baseball Classic. The Israeli team lost to Spain in extra innings the pool finals, and did not earn a spot in the 2013 WBC.

If hired, Ausmus would add to the list of relatively young managers not far removed from their playing days that have moved back into the dugout as big league skippers.

Joe Girardi, Robin Ventura, Walt Weiss, Mike Redmond and Mike Matheny have all made the quick transition from playing to managing in the big leagues.

Ausmus joins Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams as candidates for the managerial position from outside the Nationals’ organization, and Williams has reportedly already had his first chance to sell himself for the job.

The Washington Post has reported that the Nationals have already conducted an interview with Williams, who has close ties to Nats general manager Mike Rizzo from their days in Arizona.

Rizzo was the Diamondbacks’ scouting director while Williams was wrapping up his playing career, and Rizzo has long respected the former All-Star third baseman, who is considered well-prepared and fiercely competitive.

One topic that Williams will likely have to discuss during any interviews for managerial positions is his ties to steroids during his playing days. Williams was named in the Mitchell Report, and the San Francisco Chronicle reported back in 2007 that Williams purchased $11,600 worth of human growth hormone, steroids and other drugs from a Florida clinic in 2002.

Williams told the Chronicle in 2007 that a doctor advised him to use HGH to treat an ankle injury he suffered during spring training in 2002. He said that he stopped taking HGH because he did not like its effects. Williams retired as a player in 2003.

In addition to Ausmus and Williams, the Nationals will also consider internal candidates Randy Knorr and Trent Jewett for the managerial position left vacant when Davey Johnson stepped away after the end of the 2013 regular season.

The Nationals continue to keep things quiet in their search for a new skipper, and Rizzo has declined comment on all aspects of the process dating to the last couple weeks of the season.

But things are slowly starting to progress as the pool of candidates widens and the interviews start to take place.

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