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Angels Fire Director of Scouting

Stoneman, who hired Donny Rowland, declines to discuss his reasons for discharging him. General manager says he has no replacement in mind.

August 26, 2003|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

The Angels have fired scouting director Donny Rowland, five weeks before the end of a disappointing season in which the players he has drafted have been unable to fortify an injury-ravaged major league roster.

Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman, who informed Rowland of his decision over the weekend and acknowledged it Monday, declined to explain.

Rowland did not return a call seeking comment.

"It just didn't work out," Stoneman said.

Within weeks of his appointment as the Angel general manager in 1999, Stoneman made three key hires -- Rowland, minor league director Darrell Miller and Manager Mike Scioscia. Stoneman did not know any of them personally before he interviewed them and now has fired two of the three, an outcome he said did not overly concern him.

"That happens a lot in business," Stoneman said. "If things don't work out like you hope, you have to make an adjustment. It's when you don't make an adjustment that you should start to have a concern."

Stoneman said he had no successor to Rowland in mind, no timetable for selecting one and no determination to replace him with someone familiar.

For now, Stoneman said, special assistant Gary Sutherland will oversee the scouting department. Sutherland, the No. 2 man in the Angels' baseball operations department, was a teammate of Stoneman's with the Montreal Expos.

Personality conflicts are believed to have triggered the departure of Miller.

Stoneman, who said last week that "you're measured by your results in scouting," declined to discuss Rowland's results or any possible conflicts.

None of the players who Rowland has selected in four drafts have reached the major leagues, although the Angels are expected to promote pitcher Chris Bootcheck in September. But Rowland revitalized the lower levels of the farm system, and his 2001 draft drew wide acclaim within the industry.

His first three picks in that draft -- first baseman Casey Kotchman, catcher Jeff Mathis and third baseman Dallas McPherson -- are considered untouchable by Stoneman.

Stoneman said the Angels have not wavered from the philosophy he directed Rowland to follow, that of drafting high-risk, high-reward prospects, particularly high school players.

Under the previous management of general manager Bill Bavasi and his scouting director, Bob Fontaine, the Angels emphasized the selection of college players who might sign more cheaply and reach the majors more quickly, even if their potential might not be as great.

But Bavasi and Fontaine tabbed the majority of Angel players who appeared in Game 7 of the World Series -- outfielders Garret Anderson, Darin Erstad and Tim Salmon, pitchers John Lackey, Troy Percival and Francisco Rodriguez, catcher Bengie Molina and third baseman Troy Glaus, the World Series MVP.

Stoneman acknowledged that debt by inviting the ousted general manager and scouting director to attend the World Series as his guests.

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