The Angels gained another managerial candidate Wednesday but lost the man who was considered a front-runner for the job.
While the team was granted permission to interview Hal McRae, the former Kansas City Royal manager who is now the batting instructor in Philadelphia, former Toronto Blue Jay Manager Cito Gaston withdrew himself from consideration for the position.
Gaston said he "had a nice chat" with new Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman Wednesday, and he had arranged to travel to Orange County to be interviewed Sunday. But Gaston, recently hired as Toronto's hitting coach, called Stoneman back later in the day and withdrew from the running.
"There were some personal things involved, and I just wanted to be close to home," said Gaston, whose wife is from Toronto and who owns a home there. "I played in San Diego, I love California, and the Angels have a good team.
"I know this is going to surprise some people, but I have to do what I have to do."
Gaston, 55, also withdrew his name in Milwaukee after interviewing for the Brewer job, which will go to San Diego Padre first-base coach Davey Lopes. Gaston interviewed in Cleveland but lost out to Charlie Manuel.
McRae, 54, recently interviewed for the Baltimore job that went to Mike Hargrove.
After a distinguished 19-year big league career, McRae spent two seasons (1988-89) as Pittsburgh's minor league hitting instructor and a year and a half (1990-91) as the batting instructor in Montreal, where he worked under Stoneman, the former Expo executive.
McRae was named the Royals manager on May 24, 1991, and he guided Kansas City to winning records in three of the four years he was there.
With Gaston out of the picture, the Angels are lining up interviews with at least four candidates--McRae, Angel bench Coach Joe Maddon, New York Yankee third-base Coach Willie Randolph and Yankee batting instructor Chris Chambliss.
There was some potentially more encouraging news out of Toronto. General Manager Gord Ash said he doesn't believe the Blue Jays can re-sign Shawn Green, who can become a free agent after 2000, and the Blue Jays will seek to deal the former Tustin High star this winter.
The Angels are expected to be one of at least seven teams, along with the Dodgers, Orioles, Rockies, Mariners, Tigers and Padres, who will pursue Green, who hit 42 homers and drove in 123 runs in 1999.