Orioles fire five of six coaches Only Hendricks will return to be part of Johnson's staff; Ripken Sr. may coach first; Thrift to represent team at GM meetings


Orioles officials continue to deliberate over the choice of the next general manager, but they have fired five of their six major-league coaches.

Pitching coach Mike Flanagan, first base coach Al Bumbry, third base coach Steve Boros, bench coach Chuck Cottier and hitting coach Lee May have been informed they will not be retained for next year. Flanagan, however, may be offered another job in the organization. Elrod Hendricks will remain the bullpen coach.

According to an AL source, new Orioles manager Davey Johnson is considering Cal Ripken Sr. as his first base coach. Former Mets catcher John Stearns is another possibility.

Johnson is expected to hire Pat Dobson as pitching coach, Andy Etchebarren as bench coach, and Sam Perlozzo as third base coach. Mike Easler is the leading candidate to be hitting coach.

With the identity of the next general manager undetermined, director of player development Syd Thrift likely will represent the Orioles at the GM meetings that begin Monday in Arizona.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos is mulling over a handful of GM candidates, after conducting interviews with seven men with a wide range of experience and qualifications. The three primary candidates appear to be former Montreal general manager Kevin Malone, former Detroit GM Joe Klein, and New York Mets scouting director John Barr.

Another possible interviewee is Florida scouting director Gary Hughes. Boston assistant GM Mike Port, interviewed last month, called the Orioles yesterday and withdrew from consideration, although he did not seem to be among the front-runners.

On Oct. 30, the day the Orioles announced the hiring of Johnson, Angelos indicated he wanted to pick a general manager by the time the Arizona meetings began.

However, his search for a new GM has widened since then, complicating the issue, and like other executives in the game, Angelos may have picked up on the sense that few major moves, if any, will be made at the meetings.

Many clubs intend to wait to see what occurs with the labor negotiations before engaging in serious trade talks for big names, or plunging into the free-agent market.

Thrift has not interviewed for the Orioles' GM job, and all indications are Angelos is pleased with Thrift's work in the farm system and prefers to leave him in that position. But at Angelos' request, Thrift has been serving, in effect, as an interim general manager, addressing contractual matters and taking phone calls from agents and other general managers.

Angelos called Thrift yesterday and asked him to represent the Orioles, alongside Johnson, at the GM meetings. Thrift was going there anyway, as a member of a Major League Baseball committee on player development.

Thrift said: "Davey and I will get together and talk to other clubs, and we'll evaluate everything that goes on. When the new general manager gets here, we'll sit down and talk."

They'll have some matters to address, such as:

* Free agents. One of the Orioles' GM candidates walked away from his interview with the strong impression the team intends to pursue outfielder Ron Gant and second baseman Roberto Alomar.

Johnson has made no secret of his fondness for Houston second baseman Craig Biggio and Chicago Cubs reliever Randy Myers, although others in the organization like Kansas City closer Jeff Montgomery (teams cannot formally begin talks with free agents from other teams until Monday).

* The 40-man roster. The Orioles have to determine by Nov. 20 which minor-leaguers they will add to their 40-man roster, which shouldn't be a problem as it was last year, when they left left-hander Vaughn Eshelman unprotected.

The Orioles have 10 spots open on their 40-man roster, and are expected to add catcher B. J. Waszgis, third baseman Scott McClain and pitchers Garrett Stephenson and Aaron Lane. They also may consider adding Single-A shortstop Juan Bautista.

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