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Fired Oriole Oates hired by Rangers

Former Baltimore manager Johnny Oates was hired Wednesday to manage the Texas Rangers.

Oates was given a two-year contract; terms were not disclosed. He replaces Kevin Kennedy, who was fired by general manager Doug Melvin last week and beat out Oates for the Boston job.

"What this ballclub needed was a manager that had experience and also had a winning percentage of managing in the big leagues. The man to my right here, Johnny Oates, brings both of those qualities to the ballclub," Melvin said.

Oates, 48, becomes the fourth Rangers manager in 29 months.

Oates was fired as Orioles manager in September after Baltimore finished second in the AL East at 63-49. Oates finished at Baltimore with three consecutive winning seasons and a 291-270 record.

Mediation off slowly

WASHINGTON _ A 40-day break, a lost World Series and a new mediator changed nothing in baseball talks.

"There was no substance discussed today at all," union head Donald Fehr said after the 90-minute session. New mediator W.J. Usery said the next session will be in 5 to 10 days but he will speak with each side separately before then. The first meeting, attended by six players and 11 team representatives, covered ground rules.

Elsewhere

Royals: Bob Hamelin, who inherited Kansas City's designated hitting job from George Brett, was named American League rookie of the year _ the first DH to win. Hamelin hit 24 home runs, drove in 65 runs and batted .282.

Red Sox: Boston declined to offer arbitration to Andre Dawson, Frank Viola, Joe Hesketh and Tom Brunansky, making them eligible for free agency.

Marlins: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brian Barnes was claimed off waivers.

Pirates: Pittsburgh will not try to sign centerfielder Andy Van Slyke for next season, general manager Cam Bonifay said.

Blue Jays: Pitcher Dave Stewart will not be offered salary arbitration, making him eligible for free agency.

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