Mazzone waits for good pitch


December 06, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly | Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly,SUN REPORTERS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- One of baseball's most experienced free agents is at his home in suburban Atlanta, hoping that a situation arises in which he can get back into the game. Former Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who was fired in October with one season remaining on a three-year contract, said in his first public comments since the dismissal that he hasn't had any prolonged discussions with any teams this offseason.

"I'm a pitching coach. I'll always be a pitching coach and I'm very interested in returning to that," said Mazzone, who will still make about $500,000 from the Orioles in 2008.

With the Pittsburgh Pirates announcing Jeff Andrews and the New York Yankees naming Dave Eiland their respective pitching coaches late last month, all of the big league spots are filled.

So Mazzone, 59, may have to sit out spring training for the first time in four decades. It pains him, he said, because he really enjoyed working with the Orioles' young nucleus last year that included Erik Bedard, Adam Loewen and Jeremy Guthrie.

"I'm hoping something happens at some point. If it does it does," Mazzone said. "But I know it will down the road."

Loewen on mend -- Orioles manager Dave Trembley has spoken to Loewen several times this season and expects him to be ready to go for the start of spring training. Loewen's season ended in early May after he suffered a stress fracture in his left elbow that required season-ending surgery. "He has no restrictions on his throwing program this offseason," Trembley said. "I already asked him, `Should we pencil you in there for that opening series or not?' He said, `[Yes], I'll be in the opening series.'"

No decision reached -- Though president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has been in contact with his agent, designated hitter Aubrey Huff, who angered team officials and fans with his comments on a satellite radio show last month, still hasn't been informed if he'll be disciplined by the club. Huff referred to Baltimore as a "horses - -" city and touched on other racy topics.

Around the horn -- MacPhail said that he expects to make at least one selection in this morning's Rule 5 draft. ... Hayden Penn will be among the pitchers given a shot to win a rotation spot this spring if the club is unable to make a trade to get a veteran starter.

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