Nationals hire Williams as manager

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than a decade ago, when Matt Williams was still a third baseman, and Mike Rizzo was still climbing the front-office rungs, the future general manager thought he noticed the makings of a future skipper.

Well, here they are. Williams will make his debut as a major-league manager with the Washington Nationals, a hiring announced by Rizzo on Thursday, one day after the World Series ended.

“Matt played with intensity as a player, but he also was a terrific teammate. You talk to the guys that he played with, and they swear by him. He was always team first, and self second. He was the consummate team player and a great teammate. He was a leader in the clubhouse, by example and also a vocal leader,” Rizzo said.

“As a manager candidate, I feel he has the same fire, same desire, and the same team-first attitude that will be taken well by the players,” Rizzo added. “He’s always been a players’ guy as a player, and I think he’ll continue to be a players’ guy as a manager.”

Rizzo was a part of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ front office when the expansion team entered the majors in 1998, and he became their scouting director two years later along the way to becoming Washington’s GM. Williams played in Arizona from 1998-2003, part of a 17-year career.

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