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12/15/2005 3:40 PM ET
Frank Robinson to return to Nationals dugout in 2006
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The Washington Nationals today announced that Hall-of-Famer Frank Robinson has agreed to terms on a one-year contract to manage in 2006. The club also announced that bench-coach Eddie Rodriguez and pitching-coach Randy St. Claire will return in 2006, while hitting-coach Tom McCraw, first-base coach Don Buford, bullpen-coach Bob Natal and third-base coach Dave Huppert will not. Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcements.

Robinson returns for a fifth season with the club. In four seasons with the Nationals/Expos franchise, Robinson's clubs are 314-334 (.485). Despite accepting the Expos managerial post on February 12, 2002-just five days before the start of Spring Training-Robinson has guided the Nationals/Expos to a pair of winning seasons (2002, '03), a .500 campaign (81-81 in 2005) and just one sub-.500 record (2004).

Last season, the Nationals led the competitive NL East as late as July 20 and remained in the Wild Card chase until mid-September. In all, Washington was in sole possession of first place in the NL East, or tied for the top spot, 63 days last season.

In 2002, Robinson's first season, the Expos won 15 more games than the season prior to his arrival. The following year, in 2003, Montreal remained in the Wild Card chase into September despite enduring a split "home" schedule that included 22 games in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Robinson, who became baseball's first African-American manager on October 4, 1974 when he assumed Cleveland's helm, is 994-1,085 (.478) in 15 seasons as a big league manager. In addition to Washington (2005), Montreal (2002-04) and Cleveland (1975-77), Robinson also managed in San Francisco (1981-84) and Baltimore (1988-91). He was named American League Manager of the Year in 1989 after leading the Orioles to a 32.5-game improvement compared to the previous season.

Currently, Robinson's 994 victories rank sixth among active managers, behind only Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, Dusty Baker and Mike Hargrove. Robinson earned his 900th managerial victory with a 6-3 win on August 25, 2004 vs. Los Angeles. He became the just 58th manager in major league history to reach the 900-win plateau.

Entering his fourth season with the club, St. Claire will tutor a pitching staff that posted a 3.87 ERA last season and featured closer Chad Cordero, who led the big leagues with 47 saves at the age of 23. Rodriguez, who enters his third season with the franchise, works closely with Robinson on daily schedules, statistical analysis, lineups and game management.

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