MINNEAPOLIS -- Nothing has really surprised Phil Regan in his first season as a major-league manager. From his time spent as a pitching coach, he had gotten a taste for the pressures inherent in the job, dealing with players and the media and such.
About the only thing he didn't really know about, Regan acknowledged yesterday, was the relative abilities of his players. Because Regan's first real look at the Orioles came in a shortened spring training, he feels as if he didn't have enough time to get a good evaluation of his players.
That could be a primary reason the Orioles had so many roster changes in the first six weeks of the regular season.
"I didn't get to know the players," Regan said. "Maybe after six weeks in Florida [in a normal spring training] we would've known a lot of what we found out during the regular season this year.
"The first half of the season . . . has given me a chance to see these guys, learn their personalities, who can hit-and-run, who can steal a base. It took me awhile to learn."
The Orioles roster opening the season may have been radically different had spring training opened in February. Maybe Regan and his staff would've determined, watching more workouts and exhibitions, that Curtis Goodwin was ready to start the year in the majors; that they wouldn't feel comfortable relying on relievers Armando Benitez and Brad Pennington, who eventually were shipped out; that catcher Matt Nokes, released in the sixth week of the season, couldn't help them.
In discussing the makeup of his roster with general manager Roland Hemond and assistant GM Frank Robinson, Regan could've spoken with more firsthand knowledge.
Regan has felt quite at ease managing in games, from his experience in managing in winter ball over the last decade. But Regan said the other major-league managers have impressed him more than those he faced in winter ball.
Regan gave an example from Monday night's game in Texas, when Johnny Oates, his counterpart, moved decisively to pull starter Bob Tewksbury, in an effort to gain a slight advantage of having lefty Ed Vosberg throwing to left-handed hitter Curtis Goodwin. "He wanted that matchup," said Regan.
A national magazine columnist speculated last week that after this season, Regan will become the Orioles general manager and DTC Davey Johnson will replace Regan as manager.
Regan laughed aloud at this. "I like what I'm doing," he said. "I've enjoyed it."