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AROUND THE MAJORS

Martinez Is Fired as Blue Jay Manager

June 04, 2002|From Associated Press

Buck Martinez, hired as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays without any coaching experience at the minor or major league level, was fired Monday in his second season.

The Blue Jays, off to their worst start in two decades, made third base coach Carlos Tosca the manager for the rest of the season.

Toronto General Manager J.P. Ricciardi said Martinez, who went to the Blue Jay bench before last season directly from the broadcast booth, was fired because of his lack of experience and leadership.

"I don't know if Buck even knows what his philosophy or style is because he hasn't had a lot of time to manage," Ricciardi said. "It's not so much the wins, the losses at this point, it's more the leadership."

First base coach Garth Iorg also was fired. Bullpen catcher John Gibbons will replace Iorg and Brian Butterfield, fired May 16 as manager of New York's triple-A affiliate at Columbus, Ohio, joins the Blue Jays as third-base coach.

Martinez becomes the fifth manager fired since opening day, following Phil Garner at Detroit, Buddy Bell at Colorado, Tony Muser at Kansas City and Davey Lopes at Milwaukee.

The Blue Jays, who have the third-worst record in the American League at 20-33, swept a three-game weekend series with Detroit, but that didn't stop Ricciardi from replacing Martinez.

Only Tampa Bay and Detroit in the AL, and Milwaukee in the NL, have worse records than the Blue Jays.

Martinez's tenure had been in jeopardy since spring training when Ricciardi, who replaced the fired Gord Ash in the off-season, issued a virtual ultimatum for Martinez to produce a hard-working team or face dismissal.

Ricciardi said the team quit halfway through last season and, if things went as they did last year, a change would be made.

After the Blue Jays dropped to 8-20 at home after an 0-6 stand last week, Ricciardi said Martinez's status would be monitored series to series.

"I don't think he was surprised. He understood something was maybe coming," Ricciardi said.

Martinez had a year remaining on the three-year deal he signed in November 2000 after leaving the broadcast booth.

"Let's face it, Buck has never managed anywhere outside the big leagues and it's a tough place to learn," Ricciardi said in spring training.

Tosca, who was hired by Ricciardi in the off-season, has managed 1,759 games in the minors. He managed Atlanta's triple-A affiliate at Richmond, Va., in 2001 and spent the three previous years as bench coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He has been a minor league manager with the Yankees and the Florida Marlins.

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San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds was the leader in balloting for the National League All-Star team with 315,557 votes. Bonds was batting .340 with 19 home runs before the Giants' game against San Diego on Monday.

New York catcher Mike Piazza was second with 277,041 votes, followed by Chicago outfielder Sammy Sosa with 273,421. Sosa hit his major league-leading 20th homer on Monday.

Other leaders included Houston first baseman Jeff Bagwell, New York second baseman Roberto Alomar, Philadelphia third baseman Scott Rolen and shortstop Jimmy Rollins, and Montreal outfielder Vladimir Guerrero.

The All-Star game will be played July 9 at Milwaukee.

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