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Edwin Rodriguez resigns as manager; Jack McKeon a candidate for interim?

       Edwin Rodriguez bowed out as Marlins manager this morning, submitting his resignation to club officials in St. Petersburg. Bench coach Brandon Hyde will manage today's game against the Rays.

        Larry Beinfest, president of baseball operations, said the team would look immediately for an interim manager to finish out the season. Hyde and former Marlins manager Jack McKeon, who guided the team to the 2003 World Series title, are candidates for the interim job, according to sources.

        ESPN is also reporting that McKeon is a candidate.

        But McKeon, 80, said he had not spoken to anyone with the Marlins about the position.

        "I just walked in from church," McKeon said at 12:45 p.m. "I didn't even know he resigned. I haven't heard a word."

        Asked if he would consider returning as manager if asked, McKeon replied from his home in North Carolina. "I'd have to check with my wife and see what she says. But, no question I could do it."

       Considering the team's rapid plunge, going from 10 games over .500 and a game out of first on May 26 to seven games under .500 and 12 games out in a span of just over three weeks, the decision hardly comes as a surprise.

       Rodriguez was on thin ice even before the season began when he accepted a one-year offer to manage the team, and it's no secret that the Marlins would like a high-profile manager (Ozzie Guillen?) in place when they move into their new ballpark next season.

      Rodriguez was handicapped by injuries to key players, notably pitcher Josh Johnson and shortstop Hanley Ramirez, and Ramirez's season-long hitting slump.

      He didn't quite last one full year at the Marlns' helm, taking over for fired manager Fredi Gonzalez last June 23. Not long after Rodriguez was promoted from Triple A New Orleans to accept the interim title, the Marlins talked to Bobby Valentine about the full-time position.

      But talks with Valentine ultimately collapsed, and Rodriguez was left in charge to manage the rest of the 2010 season.

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