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Emotional Robinson 'at ease' after meeting

The Baltimore Sun

If Frank Robinson's words didn't explicitly reveal that he'll be done as the Washington Nationals' manager at the end of this season, the tears filling his eyes yesterday sure seemed to get the message across.

Robinson, working under a one-year contract, finally got a chance to discuss his future with Nationals president Stan Kasten and general manager Jim Bowden in separate meetings yesterday, something the Hall of Famer has wanted for some time.

"I'm at ease," said Robinson, in his fifth season with the Expos-Nationals franchise. "Let me say this: I had my say. We sat down, each one, and I had my discussions with them. And I'm very comfortable with what ... I wanted to say about the situation here and my situation. Other than that, I just don't want to go into depth on anything said behind closed doors at this time."

Robinson spoke with Kasten for 20 to 25 minutes, and Bowden for a little less, and the manager said: "We agreed to make the announcement later on. ... In the very near future."

Through a team spokesman, Bowden and Kasten turned down requests for comment.

The Nationals entered yesterday with a 70-88 record, and the team is assured of finishing last in the National League East for the third consecutive season. The club began 2005 - its first year in Washington - with a 50-31 record and was in first place in July, before finishing 81-81.

Robinson joined the club when it was still in Montreal and was purchased by Major League Baseball in 2002.

"He took care of this team when no one really wanted to," catcher Brian Schneider said.

In 16 seasons as a major league manager for four clubs, Robinson is 1,064-1,085 with no postseason appearances. As a player-manager for the Cleveland Indians in 1975, he became the first black manager in major league history, and he won 1989 American League Manager of the Year honors with the Orioles.

Brewers -- Milwaukee began an offseason overhaul, announcing that batting coach Butch Wynegar and first base coach Dave Nelson will not be offered contracts for next year. General manager Doug Melvin said the remainder of the coaching staff has been invited back for next season. Both Wynegar and Nelson are finishing their fourth year with the team, 73-85 entering the final four games.

Royals -- A surgically removed growth behind Kansas City manager Buddy Bell's left tonsil was cancerous, his doctor said. The biopsy revealed that tissue surrounding the growth, however, was free of cancer cells. Bell was examined by Dr. Michael Hinni, at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., as a follow-up to the surgery he had last Friday. Hinni said the procedure was successful. Bell, who is resting at home in Chandler, Ariz., and won't manage again this season, will meet with doctors soon to determine any further treatment. Bench coach Billy Doran has replaced Bell on an interim basis.

Hall of Fame -- Gil Hodges, Ron Santo, Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat are among the 27 players on next year's Veterans Committee ballot for the Hall of Fame announced yesterday. Umpire Doug Harvey, former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley and former union head Marvin Miller are among 15 managers, executives and umpires on the 15-man "composite" ballot.

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