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11/10/09 6:27 AM EST

Riggleman: Nats to decide soon

Skipper says conclusion of search may come after GM Meetings

WASHINGTON -- Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman doesn't know if he'll be at the helm on a permanent basis, but he indicated a decision could be made after the General Managers Meetings.

"In talking to some people up in Washington, the feeling I'm getting is that there will be [something happening] between the General Managers' Meetings and the Winter Meetings," Riggleman said. "That leaves a big gap, but I think we will know something shortly after [general manager] Mike [Rizzo] gets back from Chicago. So I guess that would lead toward this week or early next week. I think we will have some type of decision made."

The good part about the 2009 season was that the Nationals played better baseball under Riggleman, who guided them to a 33-42 record. Riggleman was even praised by Rizzo for the job that the skipper did during the second half of the season.

Asked if he thought he would get the permanent position, Riggleman said: "I think I have a good chance. The one thing is that we did everything we could do. I don't think we left any stone unturned. I think we tried to address every issue, we tried to get the players to play hard and respond to what we were trying to do on the field. We felt like the players responded.

"The won-loss record leaves a lot to be desired. I feel we made some progress. I feel real good about how the players went about their business. I think people were getting after it toward the end. So regardless of what happens, I feel we did the job and you have to respect the process."

The Nationals have attempted to keep the managerial search private. The only item that is publicly known is that Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly took himself out of the running. When reached by phone last week, Rizzo declined to discuss the managerial search.

There were published reports that Bobby Valentine, Bob Melvin and Tim Foli would be interviewed, but it's not known if they met with Rizzo or team president Stan Kasten.

FoxSports.com reported Tuesday morning that there are two finalists for the job, and that Riggleman is one of them. The Web site, citing a Major League source, said that Valentine, the former Mets and Rangers skipper, is the other.

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