Randolph, Jaramillo, Collins returning to talk

Updated: November 1, 2004, 11:03 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Yankees coach Willie Randolph, Texas coach Rudy Jaramillo and former major league manager Terry Collins were invited back Monday for a second round of interviews by the New York Mets, who hope to hire a new manager this week.

They were asked to meet with Mets' executives on Wednesday at Shea Stadium. Carlos Tosca and Jim Riggleman, the other two candidates who interviewed with new general manager Omar Minaya, were not invited back.

New York did not call the three candidates finalists, meaning it is possible others could join the field. Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said Jim Leyland, who interviewed with Philadelphia on Monday, spoke with Minaya at the World Series and was told he should call if he was interested, but has not.

In a roster decision, the Mets decided to decline a $15 million option on Richard Hidalgo and pay the outfielder a $2 million buyout.

"We are open-minded to speaking to Richard about coming back next year," Minaya said.

Hidalgo, acquired from Houston on June 17. hit .228 (74-for-324) with 21 homers and 52 RBI in 86 games with New York. He filed for free agency Monday along with right-handers Kris Benson and Ricky Bottalico, left-hander John Franco and first baseman Todd Zeile, who plans to retire.

New York has spoken with the agent for Benson, obtained from Pittsburgh in late July. The Mets have said they would like to re-sign him.

Franco, the 44-year-old team captain, probably won't be asked back.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press