Q&A with Nationals manager Frank Robinson

Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson answered questions on Sunday at the MLB Winter Meetings:

Have you been surprised with the efficiency that GM Jim Bowden has completed signings?

I'm very surprised, but when you look at his history with the Reds, he's a doer. It's a tremendous surprise to go straight from the GM meetings to here and for him to have moved as quickly as he did to acquire players.

How does this situation feel different than it did last year with the Expos?

We're relocating into an area where people are going to say, 'This is our team.' They're going to be excited about us, hopefully. Washington has something to prove after losing their team 30 years ago. Hopefully we'll play the kind of baseball that they'll enjoy coming out to see and support us.

How often do you think of Montreal as you walk through here, the manager of the Washington Nationals?

You do think of those things. Being there for three years, I'm not strongly attached to the city for a long period of time, but I feel bad for the Montreal people losing their team. On the other hand, I'm very excited about what the move can do for this franchise and help us financially compete. It'll help us with players in negotiations and give us a home, and hopefully compete on a regular basis in the division.

What kinds of memories do you have of playing in Washington?

I remember Frank Howard hitting home runs way up into those upper deck seats at R.F.K. Stadium, and I have good memories of some good series I had against those Washington pitching staffs. [Compared to] the Washington Senators, we [Baltimore Orioles] were a superior team, but we always had to battle them. I think they got up for us because we were the team coming in from across the way. We always had a tough time against them.

Have you started to plan your lineup for 2005?

It's too early. Jim asked me the other day, 'What's your lineup?' And I said, 'I don't have one.' It's too early. A lot of managers do that, but I don't. I wait until spring training to see what pans out.

Would you rather see Brad Wilkerson at first base or in left field?

I just want him in the lineup. This is one man who has never complained about anything, you can just go and put his name in the lineup. First base, left field, center field, it doesn't matter. He knows each place, he knows how to hit in the lineup and he does an outstanding job.

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