Nats' Bowden quits

A-Rod, MLB meet


March 02, 2009|By From Sun news services

Jim Bowden's final move as Washington Nationals general manager was his own resignation.

Bowden stepped down yesterday morning after four seasons, leaving under the cloud of a federal investigation into the skimming of signing bonuses given to Latin American prospects.

He has maintained his innocence in the matter but said, "I've become a distraction."

Seated at a table with Nationals president Stan Kasten before reporters and team officials in Viera, Fla., Bowden read from a statement, sometimes deviating from the script as he struggled to contain his emotions.

No replacement was immediately announced.

Bowden is the only GM the Nationals have had since the franchise moved from Montreal to Washington before the 2005 season, overseeing a team that went 81-81 in that debut season but has been below .500 since.

Bowden, 47, drew unwanted off-field attention, including in 2006, when he was charged with driving under the influence after failing a field sobriety test in Miami.

He met last year with FBI investigators looking into allegations of skimming of signing bonuses, and recently reported that Bowden's actions are being examined as far back as 1994, when he was GM of the Cincinnati Reds.

Bowden's resignation came three days after Jose Rijo, a special assistant to Bowden, was fired by the Nationals.

That was fallout from a Major League Baseball investigation that determined a top baseball prospect from the Dominican Republic who received a $1.4 million signing bonus from the team lied about his age and name.

Yankees:: Third baseman Alex Rodriguez met with MLB officials, who sought to interview the slugger about his admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003 with the Rangers. The commissioner's office released a statement saying Rodriguez was "cooperative" in a two-hour interview with officials from MLB's Department of Investigations and Labor Relations Department. No further details were revealed. Rodriguez had two lawyers, Jay Reisinger and James E. Sharp, with him at the meeting in Tampa, Fla., the Associated Press reported. Earlier in the day, Rodriguez hit two RBI doubles during a spring training game against the Reds in Sarasota, Fla., then left the ballpark without saying whether he was headed to the meeting with MLB, which wanted to speak with Rodriguez about security issues involving a trainer from the Dominican Republic and the cousin the three-time American League Most Valuable Player said injected him with a banned substance called "boli."

Mets:: Ace Johan Santana said he was OK after throwing a bullpen session, and the team decided against sending him to snowy New York for a magnetic resonance imaging on his balky left elbow. The left-hander threw 31 pitches in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Dodgers:: The team has pulled its two-year, $45 million offer to outfielder Manny Ramirez, and owner Frank McCourt said negotiations will have to start over. The Dodgers said last week that Ramirez had declined the team's latest offer, a one-year, $25 million contract for the 2009 season with a $20 million player option for 2010.

Rangers:: Outfielder Josh Hamilton left the team's game against the Mariners in Surprise, Ariz., with a strained left Achilles' tendon but later said it was "no big deal."

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