Johnson mum on his staff, but big changes are likely Hendricks and Flanagan may have chance to stay

October 31, 1995|By Drake Witham and Peter Schmuck | Drake Witham and Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers Brad Snyder and Buster Olney contributed to this article.

New Orioles manager Davey Johnson apparently will have final say on the makeup of next year's coaching staff, but he was not ready yesterday to say whom he may bring in from outside the organization and who may be carried over from last season.

The staff almost certainly will be overhauled, but Johnson would only say that he hopes to stock it with coaches who have local roots or a history with the Orioles organization.

That bodes well for bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks, who is likely to stay, and could even mean a reprieve for pitching coach Mike Flanagan, who got little chance to prove himself under hands-on manager Phil Regan.

"I'm happy Davey finally got the job he really wanted," said Hendricks, who played with Johnson from 1968 to 1972. "He's been looking forward to this since his playing days.

"Davey was the type of guy who was 20 years ahead of the game. He had things figured out to the last decimal. He computerized the game before that became an everyday thing at the major-league level."

Johnson indicated yesterday that Hendricks was a fixture in the Orioles organization -- which was as close as he came to endorsing anyone for a job on the new staff -- but Hendricks is not taking a 1996 job for granted.

"He's not spoken to me," Hendricks said. "I haven't spoken to anyone in a while. I'm in limbo. I don't even know if I have a job. It's nothing new. I go through this every year."

First base coach Al Bumbry's long affiliation with the Orioles could save his job, but hitting coach Lee May probably won't be back, even though he was prominent during the club's glory years.

The good work of third base coach Steve Boros this year is acknowledged by many in the organization, and he has a booster in farm director Syd Thrift, which may help his chances.

Bench coach Chuck Cottier does not have any previous affiliation with Johnson and little history with the Orioles prior to the 1995 season, so he would seem almost certain to be replaced. But Cottier applauded the selection of Johnson and seemed undisturbed by the cloudy employment status of the current staff.

"That's strictly up to Davey," Cottier said. "I think the manager should be given the choice. I'm sure that now that they've hired a manager, we'll be told. I know that someone will call."

Flanagan also reacted positively to the announcement that Johnson had signed a three-year contract.

"Davey's a good choice," Flanagan said. "I'll be speaking with Davey in the next couple of days. His record obviously precedes him. I know his style of managing. He's a solid tactician. He's succeeded in every situation, in the World Series as a player and a manager. He's proved himself in all facets. You can't knock his track record."

NL sources indicate Johnson is strongly considering these coaching candidates:

* Former Orioles right-hander Pat Dobson as pitching coach;

* John Stearns, who worked on Johnson's staff in Cincinnati, in some role;

* Merv Rettenmund as hitting coach, although the Orioles would have to receive permission from the Padres to talk to Rettenmund, and that's unlikely;

* Mike Easler, under contract to work in the Orioles' minor-league system, as a hitting coach, in the event Rettenmund is unavailable;

* Andy Etchebarren, who has managed in the Orioles' farm system the last three years, as a base or bench coach.

Johnson also confirmed yesterday that he will ask permission of the Seattle Mariners to talk to third base coach Sam Perlozzo, who worked for Johnson when both were with the Mets.

Though Dobson is a possibility as pitching coach, Flanagan received a vote of confidence from right-hander Mike Mussina, who stood up for Flanagan after Regan was fired on Oct. 19.

"I hope he stays," Mussina said. "He helped Scott Erickson considerably and we've got a couple of young guys coming up. I respect him. Some guys were disappointed in him, but I don't think that it's completely Flanagan's responsibility to communicate with pitchers. If there is a change in the rotation, I think it's the manager's responsibility to tell them. I think Flanagan should stay."

Mussina admitted that he is biased in Flanagan's favor, since the two were friends and teammates before Flanagan got the position.

"You would see days when Phil was in the bullpen working with somebody and Flanny would have to just stand there and say nothing," Mussina said. "If you hire a man to do a job, let the man do the job."

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