Flanagan: Perlozzo ruling likely to come after season

September 28, 2005|By ROCH KUBATKO | ROCH KUBATKO,SUN REPORTER

Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo apparently will have to wait until after the final game this weekend to learn whether he's returning next season or if the front office will begin interviewing candidates.

Having left an organizational meeting earlier in the day that included executive vice president Jim Beattie, Perlozzo and the coaching staff, vice president Mike Flanagan indicated that the Orioles don't have a time frame for making a decision. But the process won't drag into November, as it did when former manager Lee Mazzilli was hired.

"I think we're just looking at getting to the end of the season, trying to play as good as we can and then we'll see what happens Monday morning," Flanagan said.

"We've kind of gone through this before when Mike Hargrove was sort of a lame duck at the end. We'll save our judgments until the very end. We'll wait until we get through Sunday. I'm sure Jim and I will confer along the way until we get there, we'll have some talks with ownership and then we'll see where we want to go."

Flanagan and Beattie also must remain patient with their contracts set to expire.

"Maybe it's that I've lived in these conditions most of my adult life with baseball contracts that are seasonal, but I really haven't thought that much about it," Flanagan said.

Asked if he wants to return in his present capacity, Flanagan said, "I like what I'm doing. Absolutely.

"I like being a part of this. It's important to me. It's something I've always cared about - in the past, in the present and hopefully in the future."

With a growing list of needs after an eighth consecutive losing season, the Orioles are making their managerial decision a top priority.

"I think we see how the team finishes up and deal with them as they come," Flanagan said. "I would think one of the first things you'd deal with is probably the manager situation. And then as you go through it, there's the free-agent process, where you're evaluating your own club and needs, and your minor leagues and their needs, other team's needs. You just can't take it all on at once."

Perlozzo is 20-30 as Mazzilli's replacement after last night's win, and he continues to state publicly that he expects to remain as manager. People close to Perlozzo believe he will leave the organization rather than consent to another interview.

Named to his interim post on Aug. 4, he inherited a team that continues to deal with injuries and the various distractions related to first baseman Rafael Palmeiro's failed steroid test. And the schedule didn't do him any favors this month with 14 games against New York and Boston.

"In the trenches, with all that's gone on this year, being with him on a daily basis, seeing what he's gone through and what these guys have gone through, I think he's done a good job," Flanagan said.

"You never like to lose ... but a lot of times you find out a lot when you go through a tough streak. You find out maybe more about people through adversity then you do through success. Unfortunately, we've found out a lot the last couple of months."

Perlozzo seems to have retained the support of most players in the clubhouse, where he's always been a popular figure during his 10 seasons in the organization.

Jay Gibbons, for one, said earlier this month that part of the team's motivation was to win for Perlozzo.

"We listen to all forms of information," Flanagan said, "so everything will be taken into consideration."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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