Perlozzo likely less high on Mariners' list

Orioles notebook

No. 2 last manager search, O's coach fails to get call

Bigbie looks to bulk up

October 06, 2004|By Roch Kubatko and Jeff Zrebiec | Roch Kubatko and Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Two years ago, Orioles bench coach Sam Perlozzo came close to being the next manager of the Seattle Mariners. They called him back for a second interview, and it's believed he was runner-up to Bob Melvin.

Melvin was fired earlier this week, after the Mariners lost 99 games, but Perlozzo might not get as close to the job this time. Major league sources don't expect him to be a front-runner since Bill Bavasi replaced Pat Gillick as general manager.

Gillick interviewed Perlozzo after the 2002 season, and his interest could come into play again if Gillick ends up running the Washington franchise. Meanwhile, Bavasi's previous ties to Anaheim might influence his hire.

Angels bench coach Joe Maddon already has become a leading candidate to replace Melvin.

The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies also have openings, and the Arizona Diamondbacks must decide what to do with interim manager Al Pedrique. So far, nobody has contacted the Orioles for permission to speak with Perlozzo.

"Obviously if they do, we'll tell Sam," said executive vice president Jim Beattie.

The Orioles invited back their coaching staff for next season, ending speculation that manager Lee Mazzilli might want to bring in some of his own people.

Perlozzo remains loyal to the organization despite losing out to Mazzilli last November. He said during the weekend that he'd take another job only if it meant a promotion.

"I didn't want to have to leave here. Baltimore's been my home. I put in a lot of hard work for a lot of years here," he said.

"As disappointed as I was last year, I still wanted to see this thing through. I want to see the Baltimore Orioles' championship ring on my finger. We made some great strides working with Maz. It's been fun. And, hopefully, we'll be even better working together next year. He knows me a lot better, and I know him a lot better.

"This is where I want to be. If I'm a coach, I want to be here."

Mazzilli said he made the decision to keep the staff intact and approached Beattie and vice president Mike Flanagan.

"I'm prejudiced because I love our staff," Perlozzo said. "I think this staff does a great job. If Maz is happy with us, that's the most important thing. He's the one who has to be happy."

Quiet for now

The Orioles don't expect any major announcements this week regarding their roster or replacements for scouting director Tony DeMacio and director of minor league operations Doc Rodgers, whose contracts won't be renewed after next month.

To clear room on the 40-man roster, club officials may try to pass a few players through waivers tomorrow. "But probably nothing other than that," Beattie said.

The club isn't likely to pick up reliever Buddy Groom's $3 million option for next season, but Beattie said a final decision won't be made "for a while."

Bigbie to hit weights

After a slow start, outfielder Larry Bigbie was one of the hottest Orioles in the second half, raising his average to .280. And he did it despite not feeling as strong as he had in the past.

Bigbie said he'll return to an offseason conditioning program that emphasizes weight training.

"In previous years, I hit the weights a little harder than I did this offseason," he said. "I focused more on speed training and agility and my flexibility. I felt like toward the end of this season ... not that I felt weak, but I want to feel a little heavier, a little stronger heading into next season."

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