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Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009

Valentine tight-lipped over rumors of Marlins post

Staff writer

CHIBA — Bobby Valentine's return to television may not last that long after all.

News photo
Mum's the word: Chiba Lotte Marines manager Bobby Valentine has refused to comment on reports he is in talks with the Florida Marlins. AP PHOTO

ESPN.com is reporting that the current Chiba Lotte Marines manager is in talks with the Florida Marlins about a position with the team.

Valentine, who has also been linked to the Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals, did not comment on the report. He recently inked a deal to join ESPN's Baseball Tonight as an analyst.

The 59 year-old manager expressed his excitement at joining the ESPN family, but hinted he would be open to returning to a major league dugout under the right circumstances.

"It's all about the people and who I'd be working with and for," Valentine said on Monday. "I know the people at ESPN, I've worked for them before. They have a great team of dedicated baseball people.

"If I was to take a job other than ESPN in the future, a lot would depend on the people I'd be working with."

The Marlins are currently managed by Fredi Gonzalez, who has led the team for the past three seasons. Gonzalez, The Sporting News Manager of the Year in 2008, led the team to a second-place finish this year with a 87-75 record. Florida was 71-91 in Gonzalez's first season and 84-77 last year.

Gonzalez signed a two-year extension before the season that takes him through 2011. The team has been noncommittal about his future and has said the manager will be evaluated after the season.

Marlins president David Samson has denied knowledge of any talks with Valentine.

The Marines' season is scheduled to end on Wednesday after a road game against the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Sendai. Valentine will begin his stint with ESPN shortly thereafter, during the MLB playoffs.

"The ESPN contract is a fabulous contract," Valentine said. "I'm floored. I'm amazed that it was offered because I've been away from MLB for so long. Now I get to talk about baseball, which is one of the things I like to do as much as anything in life. I get to do it for a national and sometimes world audience and I'm excited about that."

Valentine first managed the Marines in 1995 but was let go at the end of the season. He returned in 2004 and led the team to the Japan Series title in 2005. Team president Ryuzo Setoyama announced this past offseason that Lotte wouldn't renew his contract after the 2009 season.

"I obviously had a great time working with people here for five years," Valentine said. "I had one year where the people I worked with were different than the people I worked with prior, and I'd like to get a situation where I get to enjoy it by sharing great experiences with people who have common goals."

Fighters still waiting

SAPPORO (Kyodo) Pinch hitter Tomoaki Sato had a tiebreaking RBI single in the sixth inning as the Seibu Lions rallied to defeat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 10-5 on Monday.

The Fighters, who have a magic number of one, were denied a chance to clinch their first Pacific League crown in two years for at least another day.

Nippon Ham grabbed a 4-1 lead through the third inning but a Hisashi Takayama two-run homer cut Seibu's deficit to 4-3, and reliever Masanori Hayashi (3-2) threw a wild pitch, allowing the tying run to score from third with one out in the sixth.

Chikara Onodera (3-5) got the win in relief. Takeya Nakamura hit his Japanese-baseball leading 47th homer, a two-run drive in the seventh, and added a run-scoring double in a three-run ninth.

Eagles 6, Buffaloes 3

At Kyocera Dome, Fernando Seguignol hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning and second-place Tohoku Rakuten picked up its fourth win in five games.


Carp 3, BayStars 0

At Yokohama Stadium, Colby Lewis threw seven shutout innings and helped his own cause with a solo homer as the Carp blanked the BayStars.

Giants at Swallows — ppd.

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