O's woden hunt Miller still likely

Angelos solicited names earlier in week

search to last 4-7 days

Down counts himself out

Gillick, Malone faulted for loyalty to Johnson

November 08, 1997|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

Taking their lead from owner Peter Angelos, Orioles officials believe the club's managerial search will extend for "four to seven" days but will ultimately point to pitching coach Ray Miller. Even hitting coach Rick Down, considered the only competition to Miller within the organization, conceded yesterday that he does not view himself as a candidate and believes Miller the likely choice.

"I've been told nothing, so at this point I don't see it," Down said of his managerial possibilities. "I think they know how I feel, but no one has said anything to me."

Miller spoke with general manager Pat Gillick yesterday, but no interview has been arranged with Angelos, who was out of town on business.

A process that initially appeared to require a matter of days may now be extended to include outside candidates. Angelos solicited names from Gillick, assistant general manager Kevin Malone and director of player development Syd Thrift earlier this week. No timetable has been set for interviews.

"Hopefully, it will happen sooner than later," Gillick said.

"I'm waiting just like everybody else," Miller said yesterday from his Ohio home. "I'm just going to go about my business until I hear something."

Down and Miller spoke yesterday morning. Each assured the other he would welcome the other on his prospective staff. Down learned shortly afterward that he did not receive the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' manager job, which went instead to Florida Marlins pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Down has a year remaining on his contract with the Orioles and plans to return.

Asked if Down's conclusion that he isn't under consideration to manage was correct, Gillick said, "I don't think that's right."

However, organization sources continue to say Miller is Angelos' choice while Gillick and Malone would have no problem endorsing Down. Gillick and Malone apparently haven't spoken to Angelos since an eventful two-hour meeting on Tuesday night. Angelos, who couldn't be reached yesterday, reportedly spent much of the meeting loudly criticizing both for their loyalty to outgoing manager Davey Johnson, who resigned the next day.

While Gillick has pledged to return for the final season of his three-year contract, there is now concern within the organization that Angelos may move against him.

Johnson, meanwhile, plans to interview with both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday in Phoenix.

Contrary to speculation that Johnson negotiated with the Blue Jays before resigning, the Blue Jays offered the job to Paul Molitor as player-manager but were rebuffed Thursday. Blue Jays general manager Gord Ash contacted the Orioles' front offices only 10 minutes after Angelos accepted Johnson's resignation.

Ash is still leaning toward hiring Tim Johnson, who has interviewed twice. Johnson -- Tim, not Davey -- is also believed one of the outside names given Angelos by his brain trust. The former Blue Jays infielder is currently the Chicago Cubs' minor-league coordinator.

Davey Johnson is on a fishing expedition in Key West and could not be reached for comment.

While Molitor may have excused himself from the Blue Jays' post, he is coveted by the Orioles as a potential free-agent acquisition. Gillick has expressed interest in Molitor, 41, as the Orioles' answer at designated hitter. The club also is preparing a bid for right-handed pitcher Darryl Kile, whom the Orioles envision as a No. 2 starter between Mike Mussina and Scott Erickson. Formal bids may be extended on Monday.

Likewise, the Atlanta Braves are poised to become the Orioles' main threat to retaining free-agent outfielder Brady Anderson. A Braves official said yesterday that they plan to "jump in with both feet" for Anderson, currently vacationing in Europe.

The Orioles have not improved their offer to Anderson and closer Randy Myers during the 15-day period in which clubs may deal exclusively with their own free agents.

Pub Date: 11/08/97

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