Russell interested in Nationals job

Russell interested in Nationals job

John Russell said on Thursday he would like to manage the Nationals for the 2007 season and beyond. Washington received permission from the Phillies to talk to Russell, but an interview has not been scheduled. Russell already interviewed with the Rangers last week.

"Washington would be an outstanding opportunity for me as well," Russell said. "It seems like an up-and-coming organization, and it's heading in the right direction. When I coached with the Pirates ... we went to Washington, and the excitement in the stands was great. They truly like having baseball in the area."

Russell, 45, managed Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this past season. He was named the International League Manager of the Year as his team went 84-58.

Russell said he is firm believer that pitching, defense and basic fundamentals win ballgames and that is what happened with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"You manage with what you had. We were not a big power hitting team, so pitching and defense was obviously the key, and that's key with any team," Russell said. "We had to create runs. We had to hit and run, try to move guys over when we could. We took advantage of any scoring opportunities. We then pitched, played defense and hung on."

Russell has been involved in baseball over 20 years. He was a catcher/outfielder/first baseman for the Phillies, Braves and Rangers from 1984-93. Russell also spent time as a third-base coach for the Pirates from 2003-05, and he led Edmonton to the Pacific Coast League title in 2002 and New Britain to the 1998 Eastern League Championship.

Russell currently is managing in the Venezuelan Winter League.

In other news, Yankees first-base coach Tony Pena said on Thursday he still has not heard from the Nationals since being interviewed for the managerial job by phone more than two weeks ago.

"We talked on the phone, and I know it's a long process when you interview so many people," Pena said.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.