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Perlozzo Fired as Orioles Manager

Sam Perlozzo took over in mid-season two years ago and went 122-164 in his brief tenure, including 70-92 last season.
Sam Perlozzo took over in mid-season two years ago and went 122-164 in his brief tenure, including 70-92 last season. (Charlie Riedel - AP)

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In the most infamous example, in Boston on May 13, Perlozzo pulled starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie after 91 pitches with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning of a game the Orioles led 5-0. The Red Sox subsequently stormed back against the Orioles' bullpen, scoring six runs for a 6-5 win.

Many Orioles players, even those who had been close to Perlozzo when he was an Orioles coach, began turning against him, complaining about playing time or questioning his decisions. One veteran recently noted Perlozzo had given the "take" sign on a 3-1 count to the Orioles' cleanup hitter, an unconventional move that struck the clubhouse as failing to trust the players. As Perlozzo's job status deteriorated, it was telling that few players rushed to his defense when given the opportunity.

Perlozzo and his backers, meanwhile, pointed to an inflexible and underperforming roster, and crippling injuries to the team's pitching staff. Entering Monday, the Orioles ranked next-to-last in the AL in runs scored and slugging percentage, and 11th out of 14 teams in bullpen ERA. Their current eight-game losing streak is their longest in nearly two years.

At times, Perlozzo has taken positions that run counter to the organization's larger vision, such as advocating trading star shortstop Miguel Tejada, which the Orioles considered last summer before ultimately keeping him.

Perlozzo's firing may have long-term ramification for Leo Mazzone, the highly regarded pitching coach and childhood friend of Perlozzo's who joined the Orioles shortly after Perlozzo was given the permanent job. According to Flanagan, Mazzone and all the Orioles coaches have vowed to stay.

"He feels we can turn this around," Flanagan said of Mazzone. "He's disappointed for his friend, but on a professional level he's very excited about the staff."

Trembley, 55, managed in the minor leagues for 20 years before joining Perlozzo's staff this year as bullpen coach -- later filling in as bench coach while Tom Trebelhorn attended to his ailing wife.

The hiring of MacPhail likely would be the more significant move long-term. Theoretically, MacPhail -- heir to a legacy of baseball service that has seen father Lee and grandfather Larry enshrined in the Hall of Fame as executives -- would replace Joseph Foss, who resigned as COO last month. However, while Foss had a finance and banking background, MacPhail is a former GM who would be expected to have greater involvement in the baseball operations, particularly with regards to the upcoming managerial hire.

MacPhail spent eight years of his childhood in Baltimore while his father served as the Orioles' GM, and since leaving the Cubs he has served as an adviser to Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig. MacPhail and Angelos became close during the 2002 and 2006 labor negotiations, when both served on management's negotiating team.

Staff writer Thomas Boswell contributed to this report.


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