Thankful Hickey, Rays go forward

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published November 2, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - Pitching coach Jim Hickey was apologetic after the Rays announced Thursday that he would keep his job despite a Sept. 30 arrest on DUI and other charges,

"I don't think I can express how appreciative I am," he said. "To me, it showed an extreme amount of patience and a lot of confidence and, I'd use the word, a lot of guts, if you will. The absolute easiest thing was just to cut ties."

But it was not without repercussions. While the other five coaches and manager Joe Maddon got two-year deals, Hickey was given only a one-year contract.

"It's a little bit of a reminder that it was a detrimental type thing that reflected badly on the organization," Hickey said. "I think it's fair. ... It's like I'm on a little bit of a shorter leash."

Hickey, 46, will perform community service directed by the team. While he knows there will be some negative reaction to the decision, he said: "I apologize and I'm going to do my best, regardless of the sentiment, to turn it into something productive."

On Monday, Hickey pleaded no contest to the charges of DUI and leaving the scene of an accident; an additional charge of resisting arrest was eliminated. Hickey's license was revoked for six months and he was placed on probation for one year, though the term is likely to be reduced.

"We're confident he's learned from his mistakes and that nothing even remotely similar to this incident will occur again," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said.

ROSTER MOVES: RHP Shawn Camp, who was demoted with a 7.20 ERA after 50 games, and veteran INF Jorge Velandia, a September call-up, were outrighted to Triple A and became free agents.