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AROUND THE MAJORS

Tigers Hire Pujols, Offer Alou a Job

April 10, 2002|From Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers hired Luis Pujols as manager for the rest of the season and fired two coaches Tuesday, one day after firing manager Phil Garner and general manager Randy Smith.

Detroit also offered former Montreal manager Felipe Alou a three-year deal to spend at least one year as Pujols' bench coach, with an option to be a special assistant for two years.

Tiger President Dave Dombrowski, who assumed general manager duties Monday, has orchestrated the two-day shake-up in the hopes of reviving a franchise that hasn't had a winning season since 1993 and opened the season with six consecutive losses.

Alou, fired last season, worked with both Pujols and Dombrowski in Montreal. Dombrowski was an Expo executive from 1986-91, one year before Alou was promoted from coach to manager.

Alou, 66, said he's considering the offer.

Pujols was named interim manager Monday afternoon, and had a long phone interview with Dombrowski after the Tigers' game against the Chicago White Sox was postponed because of rain.

Pujols, 46, is Detroit's fourth manager since Sparky Anderson's 17-season tenure ended in 1995. The Dominican Republic native is the Tigers' first minority manager.

"We had talked about managers, and we had some names, but we felt that the person that gave us the best opportunity to win was Luis," Dombrowski said. "He knows the players and he has the best knowledge of our organization."

Pujols spent last season, his first in the Tigers' organization, as manager at double-A Erie following his stint in Montreal.

He was a major league catcher in Houston (1977-83)--with Garner as a teammate--Kansas City (1984) and Texas (1985).

"I think I'm prepared for the challenge," Pujols said. "I've spent a lot of years in baseball, and I managed in double-A last year. I know that's not the majors, but with all my years in the game, I think I'm ready."

Dombrowski, who joined the Tigers in November after serving as a Florida Marlin executive from 1991-2001, fired pitching coach Dan Warthen and third base coach Doug Mansolino on Tuesday.

Steve McCatty was promoted to pitching coach from a similar position at double-A Erie. Juan Samuel, Detroit's first base coach, shifts to third, and hitting coach Merv Rettenmund kept his job.

Rafael Landestoy is the new first base coach, after working with the organization as a roving infield instructor. Jeff Jones is now the bullpen coach, after being the pitching coach at triple-A Toledo.

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Kansas City Royal closer Roberto Hernandez will sit out another three to four weeks because doctors are concerned that the inflamed tendon in his right elbow might be torn.

Hernandez will not throw for 10 days to two weeks, Manager Tony Muser said.

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Anthony La Russa, the father of St. Louis Cardinal Manager Tony La Russa, died of pneumonia at Tampa, Fla. He was 90.

La Russa had visited his father several times during spring training in Florida.

Third base coach Jose Oquendo and pitching coach Dave Duncan managed the team against Milwaukee on Tuesday in La Russa's absence.

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The Atlanta Braves placed right-hander Albie Lopez on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right groin.

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