Rettenmund withdraws, leaving O's 1 coach short


Merv Rettenmund's decision to stay at home in San Diego put a hold on the Orioles' plans to announce the rest of new manager Phil Regan's coaching staff yesterday.

The former Orioles outfielder put a halt to negotiations Monday night, when his former team wouldn't give him a three-year contract plus a signing bonus to be its hitting coach. Rettenmund, who signed a two-year contract with an option for a third, is the first member of the Padres' staff to be retained for next season, including manager Jim Riggleman, who is scheduled to interview for the Chicago Cubs' managing job today.

With Rettenmund out of the picture, the Orioles postponed a planned announcement. Pitching coach Mike Flanagan is the only confirmed member of Regan's staff, which is expected to include two former big-league managers -- Chuck Cottier and Steve Boros -- as well as first base coach Al Bumbry and bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks, the lone holdover from Johnny Oates' staff.

Cottier and Boros were unavailable for comment last night, but ++ Bumbry acknowledged that he had met with Regan on Monday night. "I think it went well, and I'm optimistic," he said.

General manager Roland Hemond would not say whether the Orioles had one person in mind for hitting coach, or whether several names had been discussed. Regan was traveling back to his job as manager for Caracas in the Venezuelan winter league and presumably would have input into the decision.

"We had discussions with Merv and he had expressed a desire to come here," said Hemond. "But I think the change in the ownership situation there was a factor in his determination to stay with the Padres.

"We don't have a decision [on a hitting coach] at this time. We're working on the overall staff and we'll wait until it's completed before making an announcement.

Hemond neither would confirm nor deny whether the Orioles would have to seek permission to talk to any other prospective coaches.

It's possible the Orioles would seek the Minnesota Twins' OK to approach Terry Crowley, ex-Oriole player and coach. Another former Oriole who could get some consideration is Lee May, the former batting coach for the Kansas City Royals.

Rettenmund had been given permission to talk to the Orioles last month. With the Padres operation in disarray, he had expressed interest in returning to Baltimore. However, with a change in ownership imminent, the Padres have taken on a more aggressive attitude.

"Merv had leverage to speed up the process," Padres general manager Randy Smith told the Associated Press last night. "He's well-respected and well-regarded by everyone in the organization. That, in the long run, won out."

"This is the first time since I've been here that the ownership has made a plus move for the people on the field, and I appreciate that," Rettenmund told the San Diego Union-Tribune last night.

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