Minaya also has talked to Bobby V as 'friend'

Updated: October 15, 2004, 10:38 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Texas Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo interviewed with the New York Mets on Friday, the second candidate to apply for the managerial opening since the firing of Art Howe.

The 54-year-old Jaramillo met with Mets general manager Omar Minaya, a longtime friend, and assistant GM John Ricco.

The Mets expect to interview New York Yankees bench coach Willie Randolph on Monday and former Anaheim Angels manager Terry Collins on Tuesday, Minaya said.

"Omar and I know each other a long time," Jaramillo said.

"There's a lot of trust between us. The big key is for the manager and general manager to work together and communicate."

Jaramillo finished his 10th season as the Rangers hitting coach. He reportedly turned down a 5-year, $2 million offer from Texas.

The Rangers finished 89-73 in the AL West and batted .266 this season. The Mets finished 71-91 in the NL East -- their third straight 90-loss season -- and hit .249.

The Mets hitting coach slot opened when Don Baylor was let go on Wednesday. Jamarillo said the managerial job was the only position discussed, and he would turn down the hitting coach job if offered.

"I would return back to Texas," he said. "The only interest I have right now is with the Mets (as manager)."

Jaramillo has experience as a minor league manager, and Minaya served on his coaching staff in the Gulf Coast League in 1985-86. They worked with 40 to 50 players and one pitching coach.

"Omar was a tireless worker," Jaramillo said. "We kept grinding every day and giving it everything we had. That's why we're in the positions we are in today.

"It's totally different in the big leagues. I believe in myself and am confident I can make the adjustments."

Jaramillo also met with Jeff Wilpon, the team's chief operating officer. Minaya said he agreed to give the Rangers a decision about Jaramillo a week after the World Series ends.

Former Toronto Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca interviewed with the Mets last Friday. Minaya said he has spoken informally with former Mets manager Bobby Valentine.

"I've spoken to him on a personal level as a friend," Minaya said. "On an official basis, I don't want to comment because Bobby is under contract."

Valentine signed a 3-year deal with the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Japanese League last November.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press