Nationals manager Riggleman resigns abruptly

Jun 23, 2011, 3:33 p.m.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman resigned unexpectedly on Thursday because the club refused to discuss a contract extension, the Major League Baseball team said on Thursday.

Riggleman told the team before Thursday's 1-0 win over the Seattle Mariners that he would quit immediately after the contest unless his contract was extended for another season, according to the Nationals.

"I believe, and I told Jim, decisions as important as this must be made thoughtfully and methodically," Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. "I was not willing to make judgments of that magnitude in the course of a nine inning game."

The Nationals said an interim field manager would be named before the players take the field in Chicago for a game against the White Sox on Friday.

Thursday's 1-0 win over the Mariners improved Washington's record to 38-37, leaving them nine games back of the National League East division-leading Philadelphia Phillies.

While Riggleman, who took over the Nationals job in 2009, expressed a desire to extend his contract before the season started, his resignation came as a surprise to a team that has won 11 of their last 12 games.

"I talked to Jim before the season and have emphasized since that no decision would be made on his extension until after the end of the season," said Rizzo.

"I am surprised and disappointed, personally, and am even more disappointed for our players and fans. I was always taught that one of the cardinal rules of baseball was that no individual can put his interests before those of the team."

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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