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Robinson will give TV a try
Former National coach Frank Robinson turns broadcaster

 Frank Robinson
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Date published: 1/25/2007

THE FREE LANCE-STAR

Former Nationals manager Frank Robinson will work as an ESPN special analyst during spring training, participating in the network's 60th anniversary celebration of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier.

Robinson, 71, and the Nationals officially parted ways earlier this month. Robinson was fired after five seasons in September, and on Jan. 8, team officials offered him an unpaid position to join the team in spring training.

He refused, though he said he wanted to remain in baseball and would explore his options.

Robinson could not be reached for comment, and it's unclear whether he is still pursuing a job within baseball. With ESPN, he'll appear on "SportsCenter," "Baseball Tonight" and "Cold Pizza" in addition to spring training broadcasts.

ESPN spokesman Nate Smeltz said the position would stretch through spring training and into the first several weeks of the season, but would not be full time.

"He lived through the segregated society, was directly impacted by Jackie's heroism and was inspired to continue Jackie's legacy by breaking the manager barrier," ESPN coordinating producer David Roberts said. "Our fans will benefit from Frank's insight, anecdotes and history."

The Hall of Fame outfielder hit 586 homers during his 21-year career and won 1,065 games in 16 years as a big league manager. He has been involved with professional baseball since 1953, and since 1956, he has been in the big leagues--either as a player, manager or front office executive.

"I still think I have a few years I would like to do it," Robinson said earlier this month. "I feel I can do it physically and mentally and energy-wise and I want to still be involved in baseball and I would like to be involved in baseball in some capacity that has some meaning to it."

Extra bases:

The Nationals and center fielder Alex Escobar agreed to a one-year $530,000 contract yesterday, avoiding arbitration.

Escobar, who battled injuries while hitting .356 with four homers and 18 RBIs in 33 games, was asking for $590,000; the Nationals were offering $500,000 before a deal was struck.

Closer Chad Cordero, right fielder Austin Kearns and right-hander John Patterson remain unsigned.

To reach TODD JACOBSON: 540/374-5440
Email: tjacobson@freelancestar.com