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Riggleman to interview Wednesday

10/25/2004 - New York Mets

NEW YORK -- Willie Randolph interviewed for the Mets' managerial job Monday, and stressed that his many years with the Yankees will serve him well if he gets a chance to run a team that proved a big flop in the second half of the season.

"I'm a winner; I know about winning," he said during a
conference call. "That's what you have to rely on. It's not rocket
science."

Randolph, who grew up in New York, is a former star second
baseman with the Yankees in the 1970s and 1980s. He spent 11 years
on the Yankees' coaching staff, this past season his first as
manager Joe Torre's bench coach. He hopes to succeed Art Howe, who was dismissed Sept. 15.

Randolph interviewed with new Mets general manager Omar Minaya and top assistants Jim Duquette and John Rico. The Mets already have interviewed former managers Carlos Tosca and Terry Collins and Texas Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. They plan to interview Los Angeles Dodgers bench coach Jim Riggleman on Wednesday.

"Willie has been around winning his whole career," Minaya
said. "He's been around a winning environment. He's learned how
teams got there."

Added Randolph: "Omar is easy to talk to. He speaks the same
language -- that's winning baseball."

Randolph estimates he's been interviewed 11 or 12 times for
managerial spots over the years and feels "real good" about this
latest one.

"My aspiration is to manage a big league club, and I hope it's
the New York Mets," he said. "I have to stay positive. Each
general manager has an idea of who he wants to run the team. You
hope you're the right person."

If Randolph gets the job, he inherits a team that was 45-43 and
one game out of first a day after the All-Star break. But key
players got hurt and the team finished fourth in the NL East at
71-91, its third straight 90-loss season. Howe, who completed the
season, was midway through a $9.4 million, four-year contract.

Randolph, 50, spent his last season in the majors (1992) with
the Mets. He acknowledges there is work to do with this team, but
insists the elements are in place to get back on track.

"Spring training will answer those questions," he said. "They
have super young talent. They have veterans who can step up . It's
a nice mix."

Randolph said he picked up a lot from sitting in the dugout with Torre, who offered straightforward advice for the interview.

"Joe just told me to be myself," he said.

Randolph said the Yankees' elimination in Game 7 of the AL
Championship Series, completing the greatest collapse in major
league playoff history, still stings.

"It's going to stay with me awhile," he said. "Obviously, I'm
disappointed. You've got to give Boston credit. I tip my hat to
them."

Moreno has surgery: Mets pitcher Orber Moreno had arthroscopic surgery on his
right shoulder Thursday and is expected to be ready for spring
training. He was 3-1 with 3.38 ERA in 33 games.