Ball stops bouncing, Narron gets a shot


In September 2003, a reluctant Jerry Narron talked a bit about his interest in becoming a major league manager again.

It looked like the Orioles were about to fire Mike Hargrove, and Narron, then bench coach for Boston Red Sox manager Grady Little, was rumored to be a candidate.

An Orioles coach under Johnny Oates and a minor league manager in the Orioles' organization, Narron took the professional approach, saying he didn't want to speculate about a job that wasn't vacant.

But he acknowledged that he loved Baltimore and would be honored to try to steer the Orioles back to respectability.

Baseball, though, is an unpredictable world. That year, the Red Sox collapsed in the postseason, and Little and his staff were fired.

Little interviewed for the Orioles' job, which went to Lee Mazzilli. Narron never received a call from the Orioles, and that winter took a job as Dave Miley's bench coach in Cincinnati.

Now, as of Tuesday, Narron is the interim skipper of the Reds.

It's the 49-year-old's second managerial job in the big leagues. He compiled a 134-162 record with the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2002.

Narron takes over a team that was 27-43 and in last place in the National League Central this season under Miley. Since he's familiar with the personnel, Narron believes he knows how to invigorate the Reds.

"We need to basically get back to playing the game right, doing the small things," Narron said.

Bochy gets deal

When Sandy Alderson was named the San Diego Padres' CEO earlier this year, there were questions as to whether he would want to bring in his own management team. The questions were answered last week when the Padres extended manager Bruce Bochy's contract until the end of 2007.

That aligned his deal with that of general manager Kevin Towers.

Bochy is expected to make between $1 million and $2 million each year.

Maybe OK in Philly

With starting left-hander Randy Wolf lost to ligament-reconstructive surgery, the Phillies look like a classic example of a team in the market for a starting pitcher. But GM Ed Wade has said there are a lot of teams in worse pitching shape.

He's hinted the team might make do in its rotation with what it has on its 40-man roster, including rookies Robinson Tejeda and Gavin Floyd (Mount St. Joseph) and setup man Ryan Madson.

Quick hits

The Florida Marlins' Dontrelle Willis has four complete games. Ten National League staffs have three or fewer. ... The Washington Nationals, needing an offensive boost, should get Jose Vidro back within the next 10 days.

League notebooks are compiled from interviews, wire services and reports from other newspapers.

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