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BETWEEN THE LINES

Instead of Just Being Signalman, Burleson Will Use His Signs

November 16, 1996

In four seasons in a third-base coaching box in the major leagues, Rick Burleson has flashed many a sign for a bunt, a stolen base or a hit-and-run.

But he's never actually called one.

Which is one of the reasons Burleson, a veteran of 13 major league seasons as a shortstop, is so excited about the chance the Seattle Mariners have given him to manage the Lancaster JetHawks next season.

It will be the first managing post at any level for Burleson, who had spent the nine seasons since his retirement as a third base coach, roving minor league instructor and scout.

"Getting to call your own shots--sending up a pinch hitter when you want, putting on a hit and run when you want, bringing in a relief pitcher any time you want to--that's something that's always interested me," Burleson said Friday at the Hangar, where he was introduced to the media as the JetHawks' manager.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity of being able to have that job. I've got to find out if I'm going to be any good at it. I've got to find out if I'm going to like it. And I've got to tell you I think I really will."

Burleson, 45, spent the past two seasons coaching third base for the Angels, but he was fired this summer after Marcel Lachemann resigned as manager.

While he was unemployed, Burleson decided it was time to pursue managing, so he called several major league clubs to see who was interested before being hired by the Mariners.

The JetHawks also announced that Dana Williams, who played in the Boston Red Sox organization and the independent Northern League, will be the batting coach.

The staff, which is entirely new, will be rounded out by pitching coach Jim Slaton, a former major leaguer and a Lancaster native.

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