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Rodriguez to lead Marlins for rest of 2010

Rodriguez to lead Marlins for rest of 2010

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Before taking the field on Tuesday, the Marlins organization was given a sense of relief when owner Jeffrey Loria announced Edwin Rodriguez would manage the club for the remainder of the season.

Afterwards, Rodriguez and the club enjoyed a sense of elation after the Marlins beat the Mets, 7-6, on Dan Uggla's walk-off single in the ninth inning at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

Mired in uncertainty for almost a week, the Marlins at least now have some managerial continuity.

"I was surprised because it was so close to the game," Rodriguez said. "I was trying to keep my emotions under control.

"It was a great win. They let me know about 30 minutes before the game, Mr. Loria broke the news to me. He told me that he had the confidence in me."

Retaining Rodriguez removed nearly a week's worth of speculation over which direction the ballclub was headed.

"Before the game started, I met with our manager, Edwin, and I told him he would be our manager until the end of the year, when we'll re-evaluate things," Loria said.

Loria added Rodriguez will no longer carry the interim label.

Arizona third-base coach Bo Porter was impressive in his interview last Friday in Miami, and Bobby Valentine was previously the strong front-runner until negotiations collapsed on Sunday.

Officially, Rodriguez becomes the 10th manager in club history. Rodriguez had been at Triple-A New Orleans before he was called in to replace Fredi Gonzalez, who was dismissed on Wednesday.

About five minutes before the Marlins faced the Mets, Loria informed the team of his decision.

"I gathered the players in the corner of the dugout about five minutes before the game started," Loria said. "I told them Edwin was going to be their manager. The coaches will continue as is. Continuity is important, and that's what we're going to do."

In one of the most hectic and frantic weeks in franchise history, the Marlins had to deal with Gonzalez being dismissed. For days, there was a strong belief that Valentine would take over. Last Saturday, more confusion occurred when first-base/outfield coach Dave Collins resigned out of loyalty to Gonzalez.

"For us to get that situation resolved was awesome for us, awesome for him," said Uggla, who had a two-run homer and three RBIs on the night. "We're going to move forward. To get a win on his first official day was great."

The Marlins are looking to scratch their way back to the .500 mark and get into playoff contention. While the team has an uphill climb, Loria said he hasn't thrown in the towel for 2010.

"We're very good at what we do, and we can make it a lot better," Loria said. "We should be able to make a charge. I haven't given up on the season, and neither have the players. Period."

When Gonzalez was dismissed, the team also let go bench coach Carlos Tosca and hitting coach Jim Presley.

Rodriguez's staff includes Randy St. Claire (pitching), John Mallee (hitting), Reid Cornelius (bullpen), Joe Espada (third base/infield), Tarrik Brock (first base/outfield) and Brandon Hyde (bench). Pierre Arsenault (bullpen coordinator) and Jeffrey Uregelles (bullpen catcher) round out the staff.

All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez noted that every person who puts on a uniform hopes to someday do so in the Major Leagues.

"It was like when they called me in the office and told me I made the team in '06," Ramirez said, recalling his rookie season. "Same thing. Everybody is in here for one reason. When they are in the Minors, they want to make it to the big leagues. What can I say? Good for him. We've got to keep working."

Rodriguez, the first Puerto Rican-born MLB manager, has gained respect with his humility, honesty and sincerity since replacing Gonzalez on Wednesday.

"I think it's huge," Chris Coghlan said. "Now we know, this is our coaching staff. This is our manager. This is what is going to happen for the rest of the year. We don't have to be in limbo and worry about what is going to happen. I think it gives everyone peace of mind again. On top of that, to be able to play like we did tonight and come out with a win, it's big."

Called up from Triple-A New Orleans to run the team, Rodriguez interviewed on Saturday, but hadn't been told much other than that he would manage the series against the Mets in San Juan -- that is, until Tuesday.

"I'm happy for him. Me and him go way back," Jorge Cantu said. "I guess everybody deserves a chance. He's taking advantage of it. Fredi will be missed, for sure. I had a great relationship with him. I understand the business. We'll just leave it at that."

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

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