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Marlins' Manuel high on Rays' job

Jerry Manuel has had quite a week.

Sunday night his Florida Marlins won the World Series and celebrated well into the morning. Monday he returned congratulatory phone calls and shared the success with his family. Tuesday he and and the Marlins were feted at championship parties throughout the day. Wednesday he flew to Tampa to interview for the Devil Rays' managerial job. Thursday he wrapped up his interview, met with the media and returned to his West Palm Beach area home.


"I would have to say so," Manuel said.


"This would have to be my best week as a professional," he said.

The Marlins are Manuel's first World Series championship team, and the Rays provided his first chance to interview for a major-league manager's job. He figures the two are related.

"It's something that goes along with being a world champion _ you get exposure," he said. "But it's something where too much light is not good for you. It can almost blind you if you don't handle it right."

Manuel, 43, figures the Rays' job would be the right fit.

"A situation like this, where you get to build from the ground up and also finish the job, I'd look forward to doing that," he said.

Manuel is well prepared. He spent five seasons as third-base coach for Felipe Alou in Montreal and this season as bench coach for Jim Leyland.

"Felipe is one of a kind, and Jim is one of a kind," Manuel said. "I'd expect to be one of a kind. But there certainly are things I would grab from each one of them."

Manuel, who also may be interviewed by the Chicago White Sox for their manager's job, said he would install an aggressive style of play with the Rays.

"One of the things I would bring would be winning," he said. "And I consider myself a good communicator, and that goes hand in hand with being a decent teacher."

Another member of the Marlins staff, pitching coach Larry Rothschild, interviewed with Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar on Thursday night and interviews again this morning. The 10th, and possibly final, candidate, Cleveland Indians scout and former major-league star Ted Simmons, interviews today.

The field will be cut to 2-4 for follow-up interviews. An announcement is expected next week.

Talks continue with Tallahassee

The Devil Rays have spoken further with Tallahassee officials about moving their Double-A team from Orlando to the capital.

The talks are preliminary, and the team could not relocate before 1999 because Tallahassee has no suitable stadium for a Double-A team. John Higgins, Rays senior vice president and general counsel, said the team has not begun to discuss options for financing a stadium.

If the Double-A team leaves Orlando, there has been speculation the Rays could move their Class A team from St. Petersburg to replace it. Higgins said the Class A team's future will not be determined until after officials review attendance next season at Al Lang Stadium.