Flanagan may have left O's anyway Fired pitching coach cites the 'frustration' of his first season

Easler impresses Johnson

Ripken Sr. won't coach first base

November 11, 1995|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

Even if Phil Regan had been brought back as Orioles manager for 1996, Mike Flanagan said yesterday he may not have returned to be the pitching coach. "I would've probably reflected [about returning] even if Phil had Bumbry, third base coach Steve Boros, bench coach Chuck Cottier and hitting coach Lee May were fired by the Orioles. Bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks will be the only coach from the 1995 staff retained by new manager Davey Johnson, who is close to rounding out his own staff.

Former Orioles right-hander Pat Dobson is expected to be the pitching coach, Sam Perlozzo the third base coach and Andy Etchebarren the bench coach. Johnson said yesterday that former Boston hitting coach Mike Easler -- credited by Red Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn with saving his career -- had a strong three-hour interview with him in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday.

Johnson also will interview former Cincinnati outfielder Ken Griffey Sr., who was pushed out of his coaching job with the Reds after Johnson took over as manager in 1993, as a possible hitting coach.

An AL source indicated Thursday that former Orioles manager and third base coach Cal Ripken Sr. was being considered as a candidate for first base coach. Johnson said yesterday that Ripken Sr. is not a candidate, and that former New York Mets catcher John Stearns -- who worked with Johnson as a coach in Cincinnati last year -- is a strong candidate.

But an organizational source indicated last night that the idea of rehiring Ripken Sr. for some role in the minor-league system has been discussed extensively. Before becoming an Orioles coach, Ripken Sr. was renowned for his instruction of young players in the minors.

Two Orioles sources indicated that Flanagan likely will be offered a job in the minor leagues, as well, and Flanagan said he would be open to that.

"I guess my concern always is for the Orioles," he said yesterday. "I've always viewed my relationship [with the organization], even though I was under a one-year contract."

Flanagan was not surprised or hurt by Johnson's decision to hire another pitching coach. "Once Phil left," Flanagan said, "you knew a new manager was coming in, and you'd have to think he'd want his own people, with whom he was comfortable."

Johnson agreed. "I just have to have people I'm familiar with. [Flanagan] would probably have been my second choice. Maybe he would've been my first choice, if I had known him well."

The '95 season was Flanagan's first as a major-league pitching coach, and he called it "a learning experience."

"I said last year I was going to give it a year to see if it liked me and I liked it. I liked it OK."

Flanagan said he probably would like to be a pitching coach again. "But it would have to be the right [situation]," he said. "It would have to be here [where he has made his home since his playing days]. I wouldn't want to go anywhere else to chase a job. I know this system, I know this organization."

After Regan was fired Oct. 19, pitcher Mike Mussina said he hoped Flanagan would be brought back, saying that he helped many of the pitchers on the staff. Scott Erickson, Jamie Moyer and Rick Krivda all mentioned Flanagan's positive influence.

"I can sleep at night knowing I did a good job," Flanagan said.

Bumbry said yesterday that he had talked to Johnson and held out hope that he might be retained. "But I guess it's time to start looking around," Bumbry said.

The Orioles are expected to name their general manager sometime next week. It appears that the choice is between former Montreal GM Kevin Malone and ex-Detroit GM Joe Klein, with former Orioles' scouting director John Barr a long shot.

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