Hershiser, Tired of Waiting, Stays With Texas

The Dodgers zig-zagging, foot-dragging search for a general manager and manager may have taken a turn for the better with the hiring of Ned Colletti, but in the process they have lost Orel Hershiser, either by commission or omission -- or both.

Although he nailed his interview with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt when the two had dinner together on Oct. 27. Hershiser's candidacy appeared to have ended when Colletti was named the club's new general manager, and he had not been contacted since the October meeting.

Large corporations revert to silence when they have to say an uncomfortable 'no'. And that has apparently been the message sent Hershiser. Being no dummy, he read the non-message loud and clear, ending what could have been a huge public relations coup.

Although, former GM Paul DePodesta's lack of interest in Hershiser as a candidate is believed to have been a strong factor in McCourt's decision to fire DePodesta on Oct. 29. The waffling Dodgers held up Hershiser, as well as the Rangers, for more than three weeks.

Hershiser resigned as pitching coach of the Texas Rangers on Friday to become the team's executive director, apparently ending Hershiser on-again, off-again candidacy for the Dodgers' vacant managerial spot.

He became the team's pitching coach in 2003 when Buck Showalter became manager. "When I became the pitching coach of the Rangers three years ago, I knew I was not going to be in that position for the long term," Hershiser said in a statement.

Meanwhile, back in the interminable managerial hunt, Atlanta Braves special assignment scout Jim Fregosi said he will be interviewed on in Florida by Colletti for the vacant manager job.

Colletti is in Florida to attend the wedding of his former boss, San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean. He also has made contact with Lou Piniella, who was recently bought out of the last year of a contract to manage the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but Piniella told the Los Angeles Times his interest in the Dodgers job as minimal.

Collins, who lives in Florida, has managed two teams (also including the Angels) over six seasons in the Major Leagues. He last managed the Angels in 1999 and was one of three finalists -- and GM Paul DePodesta's choice -- to replace Dodgers manager Jim Tracy, who left at the end of the season. When DePodesta was dismissed, the manager search process was suspended.

Fregosi has managed four teams (including the Angels) over 15 seasons in the Major Leagues, taking the Phillies to the World Series in 1993. He last managed Toronto in 1999-2000 and has been a special assignment scout with Atlanta for the last three years. Prior to that, he worked with Colletti in San Francisco as special assistant to the general manager.

Collins, who with scouting director Logan White has received industry praise for the farm system's dramatic revival, said he wasn't sure if his meeting with Colletti will be an interview for the manager job or a briefing in his role as farm director. Collins just returned from a scouting trip in the Dominican Republic.

In a telling move, executives assistant GM Kim Ng, vice president for scouting and player development Roy Smith and scouting director Logan White are scheduled to join Colletti in Florida for the meeting with Fregosi, for an official interview for the job.

The other meeting will involve only Colletti and Collins, probably for discussions about Collins position as minor league coordinator, after which Colletti will decide whether Collins will become an official candidate for the position.

Colletti indicated that he had "two, probably three real specific (candidates) in mind" but would likely contact "between three and eight" for interviews.

"I'm going to keep making some exploratory calls, gauge some interest," he said. "It's information-gathering, and even if it doesn't come to fruition in 2005 or for the 2006 season, there's no limit to the number of good people you might need in the future."

Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers will announce a ticket-price increase for season ticket and individual game purchases. Letters will be mailed to season-ticket holders next week with details of the changes.