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BASEBALL ROUNDUP : A’s Reportedly Pick Art Howe as Manager

From Associated Press

Art Howe will be named manager of the Oakland Athletics today, according the San Francisco Examiner.

The A’s interviewed Howe and A’s coach Jim Lefebvre Tuesday in Scottsdale, and opted for Howe, former manager of the Houston Astros and bench coach for the Colorado Rockies this past year, the newspaper said.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed, but Art Howe is a quality guy,” Lefebvre said from his Scottsdale home. “I know him. I wish him all the best.

“They just said that his temperament was well-suited . . . more suited to working with young kids and, hey, I have no complaint about that. I have nothing but good to say about the A’s organization, and I wish them all the best.”

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Howe, 48, replaces Tony La Russa, who quit after the World Series to manage St. Louis.

During his five-year tenure as manager of the Astros, Howe led the team to 392 wins, putting him in second place behind Bill Virdon in club wins. He was fired by the Astros in 1993 after compiling an 85-77 record that year.

He was batting and first-base coach for the Rockies this year after taking a year off from baseball.

The Examiner said he was the next-to-last candidate interviewed by the A’s but impressed general manager Sandy Alderson and owner Steve Schott in Tuesday’s interview.

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The Cleveland Indians have exercised their 1996 options on pitcher Orel Hershiser and outfielder Albert Belle and their 1997 option on reliever Jose Mesa.

Belle will make $5.5 million next season, and Hershiser will make $1.5 million. Mesa’s base for 1997 is $900,000.

Hershiser, 37, would be a steal at $1.5 million considering the season he had in 1995--a 16-6 record and 3.87 ERA in the regular season, and a 4-1 record and 1.53 ERA in the postseason.

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He has raised the possibility he might retire instead of playing for $1.5 million this year. Indians general manager John Hart said the team would not renegotiate the 1996 salary but would consider signing Hershiser for 1997.

“From a baseball perspective, we’d have to be crazy not to look past 1996,” Hart said. “Everything with Orel has been tremendous.”

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Bobby Valentine is back in American baseball, agreeing to a two-year contract with the Norfolk Tides, the New York Mets’ top farm team.

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Valentine, who was fired this fall by Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League after the first season of a two-year contract, is looking at the triple-A job as a stepping-stone back to the majors.

“It is in fact a goal of all triple-A managers to get to the major league some day,” Valentine said.

Valentine managed the Texas Rangers from May 16, 1985, until he was fired on July 9, 1992. He ha a 581-605 record.

He managed the Mets’ Norfolk farm team in 1994 before going to Japan.

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Buck Showalter was introduced as manager of the Arizona Diamondsbacks, who are scheduled to begin playing in 1998. Managing general partner Jerry Colangelo has said Showalter will get a multi-year contract, possibly as long as seven years. Compensation wasn’t known, but Showalter turned down a two-year, $1.05 million offer when he left the New York Yankees. . . . The San Diego Padres promoted minor league manager Jerry Royster from double-A Memphis to triple-A Las Vegas, and promoted Mike Basso from Class A Idaho Falls to Class A Rancho Cucamonga of the California League. . . . Don Zimmer and Mel Stottlemyre are among the coaches expected to be hired by the New York Yankees when new Manager Joe Torre announces his staff today.


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