Regan, staff may open season in minors

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

March 23, 1995|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,Sun Staff Writer

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Each morning, Orioles manager Phil Regan has as many questions as answers for reporters. What have you heard about the strike, he asks. Any good news?

There is none to offer, of course. The Orioles may be forced by Major League Baseball to forfeit their games, and last week Regan shook his head and said darkly, "You guys joke about it -- but I might just be the first manager who goes 0-162."

It's just one more example of how absurd this season is that Regan may absorb those losses while in Rochester, N.Y., instead of Yankee Stadium, in New Britain, Conn., instead of Fenway Park.

Dispersing Regan and his coaches to instruct players throughout the Orioles' minor-league system is one option that will be discussed when general manager Roland Hemond decides what to do with the staff once the season begins.

Among their possible assignments:

* Regan and his staff may be sent to the affiliates to work with specific players or groups of players. If there's a second baseman who needs help with turning the double play, Hemond said, then bench coach Chuck Cottier -- an expert on infield play -- could be called upon. Maybe third base coach Steve Boros' talent for coaching base running will come in handy at Rochester, where Kimera Bartee is trying to learn how to develop leads off first base. Former catcher Elrod Hendricks could be sent to a team where catchers are working on their mechanics.

Hemond expects that pitching coach Mike Flanagan will want to keep teaching someplace, whether in the majors or the minors. "I think he'll be looking to stay involved," said Hemond. "He already has an affinity for it."

* Regan and his coaches could be given a week or two off at the start of the season. "We might want to give them a break," Hemond said. "Coming out of camp, you usually just let your players play for a couple of weeks and let them apply what they've learned in camp."

* The staff could be used to observe games from the stands, helping minor-league coaches. Hemond cited first base coach Al Bumbry's work with Bowie first base coach Butch Davis as an example. "Those coaches benefit from that type of exposure," said Hemond.

* Because of his background as an advance scout, Regan could be sent to watch other minor-league systems, or even high school and college players, in preparation for the June amateur draft.

"Whatever they want me to do, I'll do," Regan said. "It doesn't matter.

"I'm still optimistic. I just can't see them opening the season with these [replacement] players. I'm kind of planning on being down here for another month."

Hemond said: "Phil could play almost any role for us."

Any role. But as long as the strike continues, any role except the one for which Regan was hired.

PR director, assistant named

John Maroon, who became the NBA's manager of media relations four months ago after 7 1/2 seasons with the Cleveland Indians and the American League, has been named Orioles director of public relations.

Maroon, 29, replaces Charles Steinberg, who recently accepted a job with the San Diego Padres.

Orioles officials also named Bill Stetka assistant director of public relations. Stetka, 40, has been the club's official scorer for the past nine seasons and has worked for eight years at Towson State University as director of athletic marketing and director of alumni services.

Miscellaneous

With no labor agreement in sight, Hemond told Colorado general manager Bob Gebhard that the Orioles' April 2 exhibition with the Rockies at Camden Yards probably won't be played. The April 1 game against Philadelphia also appears to be doomed, although neither exhibition has been canceled officially. . . . Infielder Jeff Huson, a strong candidate to make the major-league club as a utility man if and when a labor agreement is reached, has been sidelined with a strained muscle behind his left shoulder. . . . Outfielders Roy Hodge and Harry Berrios were demoted from the Triple-A Rochester club to Double-A Bowie after yesterday's intrasquad game.

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