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Piniella, Mariners talk about opening

Lou Piniella, who last week declined a three-year contract extension from the Cincinnati Reds, is talking to the Seattle Mariners about their managerial opening.

Piniella said he spoke with Mariners general manager Woody Woodward by phone Wednesday.

"Woody told me some nice things about Seattle and how committed the new ownership is to winning," Piniella said from his home in Allendale, N.J. "We left it at that and decided we would talk later."

Woodward said he will not start serious interviews until next week. He and Piniella, who had a 255-231 record and a World Series title in three seasons at Cincinnati, said their contact was a discussion between friends.

The two met while working for George Steinbrenner and the New York Yankees in the mid-1980s.

The Mariners fired rookie manager Bill Plummer on Tuesday with one year left on his contract, after he guided a pitching-poor team to a 64-98 record. His six-man coaching staff also was dismissed.

A Japanese-backed group of investors purchased the Mariners from Indianapolis broadcasting magnate Jeff Smulyan this season.

Around the majors

Reds: Hitting instructor Tony Perez said he will consider managing another team if Cincinnati chooses someone else to succeed Piniella. "After six years of coaching, I think I'm ready for a manager's job," Perez said.

Marlins: Oakland A's third-base coach Rene Lachemann denied reports that the expansion team was about to make him its first manager.

"I have not talked to anybody (from the Marlins), and I've been here all day," Lachemann said Wednesday as he prepared to fly home to Arizona. "I have not signed a contract. We have not even talked about a contract."

The Marlins confirmed they have made a decision, but they declined to identify their choice.

Indians: Scores of friends and relatives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, mobbed second baseman Carlos Baerga on Thursday in an emotional homecoming after his .312, 20-homer, 105-RBI season.

Cardinals: St. Louis has decided not to renew the contracts of first baseman Andres Galarraga and outfielder Milt Thompson. The Cardinals bought out Galarraga's contract for $250,000 and Thompson's for $300,000.

OPEN JOBS

Team Ex-manager Record

Cincinnati Lou Piniella 90-72

Seattle Bill Plummer 64-98

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