ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Phil Regan is ready to begin his first season as Orioles manager. He has his coaches organized, fine-tuned the silent communication with his base coaches, knows exactly what drills he wants run and how.
Meaning he's prepared perfectly for nothing, so long as the strike continues.
Beginning with tomorrow's exhibition against Manatee Community College, Marv Foley -- the Orioles' Triple-A manager -- will direct the Rochester players who are in camp. Regan will observe from the bench, but Foley will call the bunts and steals and pitchouts.
"It isn't very long before the Triple-A season is supposed to begin," Regan said, "and Marv needs to get his team organized."
Regan and his staff will continue to work with the players in daily drills. However, now that they are being released from their game responsibilities during the exhibitions, Regan said that his coaches may be used as instructors at the Sarasota complex. Steve Boros could work with some of the Single-A base runners; maybe Elrod Hendricks will offer tips to young catchers.
Regan says he thinks the spring has been productive for him and the staff, even without the players. He and third base coach Boros have learned each other's habits in the giving and taking of signs. Regan likes the way Chuck Cottier works as bench coach, and he says Mike Flanagan is improving daily in his first year as a pitching coach.
"Mike Flanagan has grown in leaps and bounds in the last three weeks," Regan said. "I see it every day in him. . . . To me, he has much more confidence now."
There hasn't been any discussion of what Regan and his staff will do if the strikes drags on into the season, and the Orioles continue to refuse to field a replacement team. He could scout the minor-leaguers, or work as a roving instructor.
"I really haven't thought about what I want to do," Regan said.
"There really is only one thing I want to do: manage."
NOTES: At the outset of spring training, Regan made a temporary switch in his staff, moving Boros from bench coach to third base coach and vice versa with Cottier. Yesterday, he said the duty swap was permanent. "I'm pleased with the way Steve has done things," Regan said. "He hasn't missed any signs. He's done great." . . . The Orioles hammered the University of Tampa yesterday, 18-0, making the organization farmhands 2-0 against college teams. "We're going to Omaha," Regan said jokingly.
Center fielder Kimera Bartee tripled to lead off the game for the Orioles, and catcher Kris Gresham's grand slam capped a seven-run first.
"This team," said Spiro Alafassos, who works in the Orioles media relations department, "would kick replacement player butt." . . . General manager Roland Hemond said he expects to hear from left-hander Ted Higuera or his agent in the next few days about when Higuera will fly back from Mexico to rejoin the Orioles. Hemond said there haven't been any on-going contract negotiations. . . . The University of Florida, which had attempted to arrange an exhibition game with the Orioles, has informed Hemond that a game won't be possible because of scheduling conflicts. . . . About 14 of the 42 players here will be sent down to the Sarasota training camp after Wednesday's workout.
Orioles players have received a memo from union head Donald Fehr on the status of the negotiations. "Perhaps [the owners] are simply not ready to make a deal," the memo reads. "Perhaps they want to see how the scab games play out, to see if real players are scared and report to camp. . . . Perhaps they simply think that players are weak. If they do, they are sadly mistaken. In any event, there is not much more for us to do other than to wait until the owners are ready to make a reasonable deal."
This just in from Major League Baseball, in a release dated March 9: MLB SPRING TRAINING HIGHLIGHTS AVAILABLE.