La Russa has Orioles on hold


Tony La Russa returned from his European vacation last night and Davey Johnson remained on his fishing trip.

In short, there was not much new to report yesterday on the Orioles' managerial hunt front.

Fifteen days after interviewing the first two candidates for the managing vacancy created when Johnny Oates was fired, the Orioles still have not announced a list of finalists.

"We had a short general discussion, but there is nothing to report yet," Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said.

None of the nine candidates interviewed for the job had been told they were eliminated from contention as of last night, Hemond said.

Johnson, manager of the Cincinnati Reds; Cleveland Indians pitching coach Phil Regan, a compromise candidate who has support throughout the organization; and Albuquerque Dukes manager Rick Dempsey are in strong contention as finalists.

Regan also is expected to be contacted by the Texas Rangers, who fired manager Kevin Kennedy yesterday. It was former Orioles assistant GM Doug Melvin -- now Texas general manager -- who recommended the Orioles interview Regan.

La Russa will meet with Oakland Athletics officials first, perhaps today or tomorrow, before deciding whether to entertain feelers from the Orioles and Boston. Texas said it will not pursue La Russa.

The Orioles are not likely to move ahead on their search until his availability is determined.

In addition to Johnson, Regan, and Dempsey, the Orioles interviewed Davey Lopes, Bill Virdon, Elrod Hendricks, Chris Chambliss, Buck Rodgers and Jeff Torborg.

La Russa still appears to be No. 1 on the Orioles' wish list, but most expect he will remain in Oakland for one more season.

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