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Valentine front-runner to be Marlins next manager

BALTIMORE -- Bobby Valentine withdrew his name from consideration for the Baltimore Orioles manager's job Wednesday, fueling speculation he'll likely replace Fredi Gonzalez as the Marlins' next skipper.

Edwin Rodriguez, the Marlins' Triple-A manager, was named interim manager Wednesday.

Bobby ValentineValentine, currently an ESPN analyst, told ESPN last week he had interviewed for the Orioles' opening, but said Wednesday he was going to "direct my energies in another direction." 

The former Texas Rangers and New York Mets manager is a longtime friend of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who owned the Rangers Triple A team when Valentine was managing the Rangers. After last season, Loria considered making a managerial change with the Marlins and had conversations with Valentine.

The last time the Marlins fired a manager in the middle of a season (2003), they went on to win the World Series. 

The Marlins are two games under .500 (34-36) and in fourth place in the National League East, 7 ½ games out of first, heading into Wednesday's game against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Last season's club had the same record through 70 games.

Valentine, 60, hasn't managed in the major leagues since he was with the Mets in 2002. He led New York to a pennant in 2000. He has a career record of 1,117 wins and 1,072 losses in 15 major league seasons.