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Thought of Rays' job has Simmons restless

A week ago, Ted Simmons had few, if any, thoughts of being a big-league manager. Now, he has trouble thinking of anything else.

After an interview and dinner with Tampa Bay Devil Rays officials, Simmons said he went straight to bed Friday night.

But the prospect of being the Rays' inaugural manager rolled through his mind, and he was walking along the St. Petersburg waterfront by 5 a.m. Saturday.

"My associates in baseball my whole life have said: "When are you going to manage, Ted? When is the time going to come?' Well the time had never presented itself until about four or five days ago," Simmons said.

"I was a bit surprised in that I have never had a manager's (lineup) card in my hand before. But I was pleased and excited I was being considered. Flattered, to say the least."

Simmons, 48, has been an All-Star catcher, farm director, general manager and special-assignment scout in the last 30 years, but he never had interviewed for a manager's job.

He is the 10th, possibly final, candidate brought in by general manager Chuck LaMar in the first round of interviews. The Rays are expected to trim the field shortly and bring back finalists for a second interview.

While only one of the other candidates has experience as a big-league manager, the rest are in on-field positions.

Simmons has not been in uniform since retiring as a player in 1988, but he said his front-office experience could be a benefit for a growing franchise.

"There are things that I'll see that would be an advantage to Chuck LaMar if he hires someone like myself," Simmons said.

Simmons, a major-league scout for the Indians, resigned as Pittsburgh's general manager in 1993 after a heart attack. He said he has no qualms about the physical rigors of managing because he is healthier than he has been since his playing days.

"I got a wakeup call 4{ years ago and decided to pay attention to it and dropped numerous bad habits, particularly smoking," he said. "So health-wise, I'm confident that that's not an issue."

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