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Tracy, Down Await Final Word


In a tight two-man race, coaches Rick Down and Jim Tracy are nearing the finish line of the Dodger managerial search, expected to end this week with either being hired.

Chairman Bob Daly, President Bob Graziano and General Manager Kevin Malone hope to complete the process soon, interviewing the finalists before deciding who will succeed former manager Davey Johnson, fired Sept. 29.

"The managerial search is winding down, but the organization has yet to make a final decision," said Derrick Hall, senior vice president. "We're still in the time frame that was originally targeted [to select a manager], and we hope to make that announcement soon."

Down and Tracy, members of Johnson's staff, have been the top candidates from the outset because of their work ethic and ability to coexist with Malone--the main qualification for the once-coveted position.

Although many in the organization, including players, have endorsed Down, Tracy also has powerful supporters in the Dodger front office.

Team sources said Daly and Graziano have been impressed with Tracy--the bench coach the last two seasons--in discussions about how to improve the disappointing club and restore the organization's tarnished image.

And Malone, who repeatedly praised batting coach Down during the season, also is comfortable with Tracy, with whom he worked in the Montreal Expo organization. Malone requested that Johnson hire Tracy as a coach in 1998.

Tracy is considered more reserved than Down, which could help him in the wake of the disastrous Malone-Johnson partnership.

Malone and Johnson worked poorly together, in part, because of their strong personalities, creating friction whenever they made team decisions.

Down was the only member of Johnson's staff whom Johnson and Malone both wanted to hire, sources said.

Down has also proven he can work with the general manager, having been the Baltimore Oriole batting coach when Malone served as that club's assistant general manager.

But Down has an animated approach, which might concern Daly and Graziano because Malone also has a lively personality.

Down and Tracy were loyal to Johnson, but some believe Tracy should have been more forceful in offering his opinion about game strategy and team preparation.

Tracy, 44, has been a bench coach six seasons, serving the first four under Expo Manager Felipe Alou.

Tracy was 501-486 in seven seasons as a minor league manager with the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Expos.

A fourth-round draft choice in 1977, Tracy played parts of the 1980 and '81 seasons with the Cubs, and two seasons in Japan.


In another management change, Bill Geivett, assistant general manager, will not return next season.

Geivett, once Malone's top advisor, said he is leaving to pursue other opportunities and spend more time with his family.

"Everybody has been great to me," said Geivett, who sources said would have had a reduced role had he remained. "Mr. Daly, Bob [Graziano], Kevin [Malone] . . . Tom Lasorda has definitely been a second father to me."

Malone said the position will be filled after a manager is selected.

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