WASHINGTON -- Nationals president Stan Kasten said on Friday that the managerial search is reaching another phase, and, on Monday the team told Trent Jewett and John Russell that they are no longer being considered for its managerial vacancy.
The Nationals have been looking for a skipper since Sept. 30, when Frank Robinson was told that he will not manage the club in 2007.
Russell, who is managing in the Venezuelan Winter League, never went to Washington for an interview, and instead had an introductory-type interview with general manager Jim Bowden over the phone. Russell was hoping for an interview in the nation's capital, but never received a call until Monday, when he was told he was eliminated from the search.
"Jim Bowden called me today and told me they were going into a different direction," Russell said. "They are doing something else."
Jewett, who interviewed in Washington more than a week ago, appreciated the fact that he was given a chance to interview for the managerial job.
"If it's not the right fit, so be it," Jewett said. "You do your thing, and if it's the right fit, everything comes together. I wish them luck. It seems like they have a good plan in place. I'm sure they are heading in the right direction."
Bowden was not available for comment.
So who are the remaining candidates? Under Kasten's orders, the Nationals have been tight-lipped about the search.
Yankees first-base coach Tony Pena said that he has not been eliminated. Pena and Bowden have been friends since they worked together in the Pirates organization in the 1980s.
New York's Manny Acta already has been eliminated from a couple of managerial jobs this offseason, but a source close to the Mets coach said that he is still one of the Nationals' top candidates. Acta was not available for comment, as he is coaching the Major League All-Stars in Japan.
Then there's Joe Girardi. Reports continue to surface that the Nationals are trying to convince him to change his mind and manage the club. Last week, agent Steve Mandell said that Girardi is still firm about not relocating his family.
"Nothing has changed," Mandell said last week. "He took his name out of consideration a week ago, and since that point, nothing has changed from that stance."
There could be other candidates, but the Nationals continue to be silent.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.