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October 25, 2000|BILL PLASCHKE

Willie Randolph acknowledged that the Dodgers have contacted him about an interview for their managerial vacancy later this week here, although he said nothing has been formally scheduled.

"I don't count on anything until it happens," the Yankee third-base coach said. "But I'd like to talk to them."

Randolph said he interviewed with the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday and is scheduled to meet with the Philadelphia Phillies today.

He has earned status as the defensive coach for a team with three world championships, not to mention as a former second baseman and Yankee leader. But there are concerns.

First, he has yet to manage at any level. Unlike other former major leaguers hoping to break into managing, he has not even managed in the Arizona Fall League or winter ball in Central America.

He also has not worked with a pitching staff. In today's game, that is almost a managing essential.

"I have a little information about a lot of things," Randolph said. "But I'm ready for a fresh challenge. I'm ready to move to the next level."

The more the Dodgers interview candidates, the more it becomes clear that many baseball people are wary of the unsettled situation with Bob Daly and Kevin Malone.

The leading candidates remain Rick Down, the Dodger batting coach, and Jim Tracy, the bench coach.

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