New role sought for former coach Buford


October 20, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

The Orioles talked yesterday with Don Buford, Johnny Oates' 1994 dugout coach, in an attempt to find a mutually agreeable position to keep him in the organization.

Buford will not be on new manager Phil Regan's coaching staff, )) but the Orioles value his personable style, popularity with the fans and baseball background.

"We have been visiting with Don today," Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said. "We're discussing various possibilities."

Buford, 57, had a 131-148 record in two seasons as a minor-league manager for the Orioles. After Oates was fired, Buford expressed his interest in interviewing for the managing job, but was not one of the nine candidates the Orioles interviewed.

The Orioles also have told former coaches Jerry Narron, Davey Lopes and Greg Biagini they will not be on Regan's staff.

Wanted: hitting coach

Stunned by Merv Rettenmund's decision to re-sign with the San Diego Padres, the Orioles are seeking a proven hitting coach.

The Orioles requested and were denied permission to speak to Minnesota Twins hitting coach Terry Crowley, a former Oriole.

Fired Kansas City Royals manager Hal McRae is considered by many to be the most skilled on the market, but the Cincinnati Reds reportedly are close to signing McRae as a dual hitting instructor/third base coach.

Elrod Hendricks (bullpen) and Mike Flanagan (pitching) are already on Regan's staff, with Steve Boros (bench), Al Bumbry (first base) and Chuck Cottier (third base) expected to be hired soon.

Baines, Lee Smith free to file

The Orioles let the agents of closer Lee Smith and designated hitter Harold Baines know that they want them to be a part of Regan's first team. But the Orioles also let them

know they are not willing to allow a salary arbitrator to determine what it will cost them to keep the players.

"We have expressed to their representatives we have continued interest in them," Hemond said hours before the midnight deadline for offering salary arbitration to players with free-agent repeater rights.

The Orioles' thinking is that they can re-sign Smith, 36, and Baines, 35, for less money than they likely would be awarded in salary arbitration.

As of yesterday, second baseman Mark McLemore was the only member of the Orioles to file for free agency. Mark Williamson, Mike Devereaux, Lonnie Smith and Tim Hulett also are eligible.

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