Baker fired by Nationals

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Washington (AFP)

The Washington Nationals parted company with manager Dusty Baker on Friday in the wake of the team's latest playoff near-miss.

Baker led the Nationals to back-to-back National League East titles but saw his team defeated in the opening round of the playoffs on each occasion.

The Nats were eliminated in five games last week by the Chicago Cubs. Baker's dismissal was announced in an open letter to fans by the Nationals ownership.

"This was an incredibly difficult decision for us," the team's owners wrote.

"Dusty Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in our history and represented our club with class on and off the field. He is one of the true gentleman in our sport, and we thank him for the successes that we enjoyed together over the last two years.

"We wish him nothing but the best going forward."

The Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, who had previous stints with the San Francisco Giants, Cubs and Cincinnati Reds.