WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are looking to hire their sixth manager in team history, and they hope to make an announcement by the first week of November. As of Wednesday, D-backs third-base coach Matt Williams appeared to be the favorite to win the job, according to a baseball source.
If that's the case, the Nationals would like Randy Knorr to remain as the bench coach. General manager Mike Rizzo was not available for comment.
Rizzo was impressed by the way Williams managed the Salt River Rafters to the finals of the Arizona Fall League last year.
Williams and Rizzo also worked together when the D-backs won the World Series in 2001. Williams was the everyday third baseman, while Rizzo was the scouting director.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not surprised that Williams is a candidate for Washington's managerial job. Williams played for Showalter in Arizona from 1998-2000.
"He's a sharp guy, but he's also a funny guy -- a lot of people don't realize the sense of humor he has," Showalter said not too long ago. "It was a pleasure and an honor to manage him. I'm impressed with him at third base, he does a good job there. That's one of those guys that will figure out whatever he needs to figure out. He's a student, he'll be a good one."
While Williams looks to be the frontrunner for the Nationals' job, the source did not rule out Don Mattingly as a candidate if he were to be dismissed as Dodgers manager. The source pointed out that Rizzo has been a fan of Mattingly's as far back as 2010.
Mattingly guided Los Angeles to the National League West title this past season and lost to the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. But during a media session Monday, Mattingly indicated that he might not be back with the Dodgers, even though his contract was vested for 2014 after the team advanced to the NLCS.
The Nationals have been looking for a manager since Davey Johnson retired after the 2013 season. Besides Williams and Knorr, the Nationals have interviewed Brad Ausmus, DeMarlo Hale and Trent Jewett.
Cal Ripken, Jr., Dusty Baker and Dave Martinez have been mentioned as potential candidates, but they have not been interviewed.
No winter ball for Detwiler this offseason
WASHINGTON -- Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler is not going to play winter ball this offseason, according to his agent, Jeff Berry.
"He is going to have a regular offseason," Berry said.
Detwiler missed most of the 2013 season because of back issues, but he was healthy enough to go to the instructional league toward the end of the season.
In his last start, if fact, Detwiler threw 90 pitches and was able to perform bunt plays without any problems.
"It went great. It couldn't have gone any better. His velocity was outstanding. He feels great. He has worked extremely hard during his rehab," Berry said about Detwiler. "In terms of where his heath is at, his back feels better than it ever has."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Steve Gilbert contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.