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Johnson's Presence Is Felt

Baseball: Dodger manager announces new coaching staff, retaining Hoffman, Hough and Mota. Amalfitano retires.

October 28, 1998|JASON REID | TIMES STAFF WRITER

New Dodger Manager Davey Johnson retained former manager Glenn Hoffman, and longtime coaches Charlie Hough and Manny Mota for his coaching staff but he also made some changes, the ballclub said Tuesday.

Joining the holdovers are Rick Dempsey, a former Dodger player, and Rick Down and Jim Tracy. They replace Joe Amalfitano, who retired after 29 years as a major league coach, Mickey Hatcher, John Shelby and Mike Scioscia.

Hatcher and Shelby have accepted positions in the Dodgers' farm system. Scioscia, who is being pursued by other organizations, is under consideration by the Dodgers for a minor league position but he is not expected to return.

The Dodgers did not announce staff assignments, but front office sources said Johnson has already determined his coaches' roles, though he might make changes before spring training.

Hoffman moves to the bullpen, Mota continues as a special assistant to the manager and Hough remains as the pitching coach. Dempsey is the new third base coach, Down the batting instructor and first base coach, and Tracy becomes the bench coach.

Johnson and General Manager Kevin Malone worked together to assemble the group, and they're pleased with their results.

"Kevin and I wanted to get a bright, well-rounded staff," said Johnson, who has returned to his home in Winter Park, Fla. "We worked hard to do that, and we're very proud of the staff. I've heard a lot of great things about Glenn and Charlie, and I really wanted to keep them.

"Manny has been such a big part of the Dodgers, and he's also someone I really wanted to keep."

Down spent the last three seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, where he served as Johnson's batting coach for two seasons. The Orioles set a major league record by hitting 251 home runs in 1996.

"Rick did a great job for me in Baltimore," Johnson said. "He's a tireless worker and a guy who can work with anybody."

Dempsey, a former catcher, played on the Dodgers' 1988 World Series championship team. He was the manager of the New York Mets' triple-A affiliate for the last two seasons, and he managed the Dodgers' triple-A Albuquerque club in 1994 and '95.

Johnson had hoped that Amalfitano would return next season.

"I have nothing but respect for Joey, and I've looked up to him for many years," Johnson said. "If Joey had told me he wanted to be my third base coach, the bottom line is, he would have been my third base coach.

Johnson is most pleased about the addition of Tracy, who served as Felipe Alou's bench coach for the last four seasons with the Montreal Expos. Tracy will have an immediate impact, Johnson said.

"We were surprised, really kind of shocked, he was even available," Johnson said. "He did a heck of a job for Felipe, and Kevin knew him from his time in Montreal. It was just kind of good luck that we got him, and the other talented guys, to add to the great staff we already had."

Team President Bob Graziano had assured Hoffman a position on the staff because of his efforts during his brief tenure at the club's helm. The Dodgers were 47-41 under Hoffman in 1998.

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