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Nationals' Rizzo won't change approach in new role

Friday - 8/2/2013, 10:01pm  ET

JOE TOTORAITIS
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Mike Rizzo gained plenty of attention last season for shutting down starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg in September.

Rizzo said Friday that he's not going to change the way he does his job after the Washington Nationals handed him a new contract a day earlier and promoted him to President of Baseball Operations.

"I'm going to attack the way I always have with hard work and good decisions and hire good people and let them do their jobs so I can do my job better," he said.

Rizzo understands he can go no higher within the team's front office.

"Being the president of baseball operations means the buck stops with me," he said before his team played the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night. "There's nobody above me. There's nobody to look to above me. They're my decisions. I'm going to run the baseball operations department in entirety."

He signed what the club called a long-term contract.

"I'm honored that the Lerners entrusted me with the goal of making this a championship caliber franchise," he said. "It was very humbling and gratifying to become the president of the team and to get the extension. It's a statement that there's continuity and consistency in the organization."

A year after winning the NL East and leading the majors with 98 wins, Washington came into the game with a 52-56 record and 11 games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves.

Rizzo said that the amicable negotiations for his new deal started a couple of months back and had no timetable. They just happened to get very close this week.

"We were getting close the last couple of days and so the last day it came to fruition," he said.

Rizzo was the first administrator hired after the Lerner family took control of the Nationals in July 2006. He has slowly worked his way up ever since. He was hired as the assistant general manager and vice president of baseball operations on July 24, 2006. Then came a promotion to general manager and senior vice president on Aug. 20, 2010.

He said that if he sees an opportunity to better the club, he's going to take it no matter what the date is.

"The trade deadline is never over in my mind," he said. "We've made some good deals after July 31st. There's always ways to improve your roster. We're always looking to improve our roster for 2013 and beyond. We're certainly not going to be in a rent-a-player mode."


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