A's say no to O's on La Russa

September 25, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

The Orioles asked the Oakland Athletics for permission to speak to manager Tony La Russa, according to American League sources.

Permission requested. Permission denied.

The A's are doing everything they can to keep La Russa, who also will be courted by the Boston Red Sox and other clubs if the A's are unable to extend his contract before it runs out on Oct. 2.

If La Russa's contract expires, all teams are free to contact him.

Meanwhile, Orioles manager Johnny Oates is sitting at his home in Colonial Heights, Va., waiting for his phone not to ring.

If it does ring, Oates has reason to fear that the news might not be good. With the Orioles primed to enter the La Russa derby, Oates' job status is very much in doubt.

For Oates, no news is better than bad news.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos consistently has declined to comment on Oates' status since the end of the season, preferring to let Oates be the first to know, either way. Thus far, he hasn't given any hints to Oates.

"Mr. Angelos has never said to me, 'John, you are not coming back,' " Oates said.

"I'm planning on coming back until he calls me in and says, 'John, you're not coming back.' Hopefully, that won't happen."

The fact that the Orioles requested permission to speak with La Russa, although not necessarily conclusive, certainly does not bode well for Oates' chances of managing the Orioles for the final year of his contract.

However, Oates said that to his knowledge no meeting with Angelos has been arranged to discuss the manager's future.

La Russa, meanwhile, left Friday for a two-week family vacation in England.

"Nobody has told me anything," Oates said. "If I am supposed to meet with Mr. Angelos next week somebody better call me because nobody has told me a single word. He'll call me and say when he's ready. I would like nothing better than to come back and manage the Orioles, but I don't have too much say in hiring and firing."

Angelos originally said he planned to make personnel changes, if any, in the first week in November. But according to another team source, the timetable since has moved up to within the next two weeks, which suits Oates fine.

The long-expected shift of Roland Hemond moving to vice chairman and Frank Robinson to general manager is expected to take place within the same general time frame.

"I'm a human being," Oates said. "We all like some kind of security. We like to rush things, but sometimes patience can be very rewarding. I understand I'm only one pawn in this great big industry that has a lot of other things going on."

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