Riggleman to interview Wednesday
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.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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