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Coaches to learn shortly of status for 2008
By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published October 1, 2007
Andrew Friedman says the club could shuffle duties.
TORONTO - Now that the season is over, the Rays' six coaches will find out if they still have jobs, and what they are.
Executive vice president Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon promised a quick decision on who will be re-signed or let go, and the announcement could come as soon as today. All six are at the end of their contracts.
At least five want to come back e_SEmDBill Evers, bench; Tom Foley, third base; Steve Henderson, hitting; Jim Hickey, pitching; and Bobby Ramos, bullpen. First-base coach George Hendrick is considering retirement and said Sunday he hadn't talked with Maddon; ex-Ray Dave Martinez could be a potential replacement.
"We'll see what happens," said Evers, like Foley and Henderson a longtime Rays staffer. "There's not much to say. It's not frustrating, but it would be nice to know."
"They haven't talked to us yet," Ramos said. "We've just got to wait."
Maddon praised the staff's work, but there has been considerable speculation in the clubhouse that changes will be made, perhaps to add coaches more in his high-energy style. Friedman also suggested the responsibilities could be shuffled as part of a reorganization.
"I'm very pleased with the coaching staff," Maddon said. "We've done a lot of good stuff. I think there's a lot of unity among the group. In regard to putting all the concepts out, all the conversations, there's been a lot of give and take, which I like. I think they've done a nice job. They're hard workers and good people."
Asked about the possibilities of changes to the staff, a reshuffling of duties or nothing changing, Maddon said: "It's all the above. We'll make that announcement relatively shortly. I don't want to create conjecture in that regard. I'd rather just wait until we do something."
Two prominent Rays, Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena, endorsed the work of the current staff.
NORTON SURGERY: INF/OF Greg Norton will at least have arthroscopic surgery to remove "loose bodies" from his left elbow on Tuesday, and possibly relocation of his ulnar nerve, pending an exam today by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
At worst, Norton said he would be 100 percent recovered by Jan.1. The Rays hold a $1-million option for next season; Norton, 35, hit .243 in 75 games with four homers and 23 RBIs.
FIRST AT SECOND: In a likely preview of next season, Akinori Iwamura made it through his first game at second base with relatively no problems, even turning a 5-4-3 double play.
Iwamura, who won six Gold Gloves at third base in Japan and played well there this year, sounded as if he'd reserve judgment, saying through interpreter Masa Koyanagi, "It's different," and that "I like challenges."
Maddon, though, was impressed: "He's got a very good game awareness. I was watching all those little things besides the fact he turned a nice double play. I thought it looked good."
MISCELLANY: Maddon kept B.J. Upton on the bench to protect his .300 batting average. ... The Rays are 5-5 in season finales. ... The Jays promoted Brian Butterfield, a former Eckerd College assistant, from third-base coach to bench coach. ... The season series ended 9-9.