WASHINGTON -- The Nationals made it official on Friday. They named John McLaren as their interim manager. McLaren will hold on to the position until Sunday. During Friday's game, it was learned that Davey Johnson will become the manager of the Nationals. Washington has been looking for a manager since Jim Riggleman resigned on Thursday. "John and I have discussed it. He is going to be on for a very short term -- days, not weeks," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We haven't made an official decision yet. We are working on acquiring a manager that will be our interim manager for the rest of 2011. Until we do that, McLaren will be the short-term manager."
Early Friday afternoon, Rizzo confirmed that Johnson was one of several candidates to take over the job, but he would not name anybody else. Third-base coach Bo Porter and Triple-A Syracuse manager Randy Knorr were also considered for the job. McLaren's appointment began on Friday when the Nationals began a three-game road series against the White Sox in Chicago with a 9-5, 14-inning victory. McLaren said he was "shocked and blindsided" by Riggleman's resignation, but said he knew that Riggleman was unhappy with his contract situation. "Jim and I talked all the time. I knew he had been upset for quite a while," McLaren said. "My main message for Jim was, 'Just win and everything will take care of itself.' It just kept building on him. I was blown away. I had no idea it was going to take place." McLaren has served as Nationals' bench coach for the last two seasons, after being named to the post on Nov. 20, 2009. It's not the first time McLaren has replaced a manager. Upon the resignation of Mike Hargrove, he skippered the Mariners for parts of two seasons from July 2, 2007, to June 19, 2008. He posted a 43-41 mark down the stretch en route to a second-place finish in the American League West. The Mariners went 68-88 (.436) during his tenure in Seattle. "We had won eight in a row there," McLaren said about replacing Hargrove. "But winning 11 out of 12 [like the Nationals] did, you never expect anything like this. I feel bad for Jim. He is a good friend. I know he had a lot on his mind. I felt we were going in the right direction, so I was totally blindsided." McLaren becomes the fourth manager in Nationals history. He said he had no intention of holding a team meeting before Friday's game about the managerial situation. "We are going to take batting practice. There is no meeting. We don't need a meeting," McLaren said. "There is nothing to tell these guys. The situation is what it is. A pep talk will not do it. I can't explain it to them because I don't know how to explain it. We are going to play baseball. We have been playing great baseball and I feel we will continue to play good baseball. "We have a good group of guys. I said it many times. It's a different culture this year. We don't accept losing. They care about each other. They talk to each other all the time. We all have a job to do."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.