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Charlton won't be returning in 2009


Charlton won't be returning in 2009
There will be no returnees from the Mariners coaching staff that began the 2008 season.

Mariners bullpen coach Norm Charlton confirmed Tuesday that he was told last weekend by new manager Don Wakamatsu the team will go with someone else in 2009. And so, barely 12 months since the Mariners unveiled a much-trumpeted group of experienced coaches, the franchise is headed in a completely different direction.

"Mr. Wakamatsu told me that, in fairness to his pitching coach, he wanted to be able to bring in his own bullpen coach," Charlton said. "I understand that. That's how it works sometimes."

What that statement likely means is that the Mariners are preparing to bring in Rick Adair, a minor-league pitching coordinator with the Texas Rangers, as Charlton's replacement. Several sources have indicated the Mariners are prepared to hire Dom Chiti, a former Rangers bullpen coach recently hired by Atlanta as a special assistant to the GM, as the team's pitching coach.

The fact that Chiti and Adair have a working relationship of several years with the Rangers would seem to explain why Wakamatsu would jettison Charlton "in fairness" to his incoming pitching coach. Wakamatsu worked with both men in Texas when he was a Rangers bench coach.

Charlton accepts the explanation, but said it doesn't make things any easier.

"I wouldn't be honest if I didn't tell you I'm disappointed," he said. "I felt I worked hard and did the best I could with the job."

The only Mariners coach likely to be back in 2009 is Jose Castro, who took over as the team's hitting instructor midway through last season. Several sources indicated he would be returning, though Castro himself said in an interview he'd yet to be told of any decision.

It's highly possible Castro has not been told anything. Two sources in Atlanta indicated Tuesday the Mariners had yet to contact the Braves for permission to speak with Chiti for the coaching job.

But such deals are usually worked out through back channels first, before any asking for permission. What it means is that the Mariners will likely not be announcing the remainder of their new staff until after the Thanksgiving holiday.

It was roughly 13 months ago that the Mariners announced the hiring of a veteran coaching staff to surround newly-named full-time manager John McLaren. But McLaren was fired on June 19 a few weeks after hitting coach Jeff Pentland was fired. Jim Riggleman, the bench coach who succeeded McLaren as interim manager, was not invited to interview for the job this offseason.

Riggleman is now a coach with the Washington Nationals . Third-base coach Sam Perlozzo is on staff with the Philadelphia Phillies . First-base coach Eddie Rodriguez took a staff position with the Kansas City Royals. Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre and bench coach Lee Elia who came aboard to replace Pentland in June were told over the weekend they would not be back.

In essence, the experience-laden Mariners staff from 2008 will be replaced by a 2009 contingent with a rookie manager and a pitching coach, hitting coach and bullpen coach who have never begun a season coaching in the majors.

Wakamatsu and general manager Jack Zduriencik have apparently been given complete say over who will be on the 2009 staff.

They have already brought in Ty Van Burkleo, a two-year hitting coach with the Oakland A's, and will announce him as the new bench coach shortly.

Charlton said he plans to contact Pedro Grifol, the new director of minor-league operations for the Mariners, about a job within the organization. If that doesn't work out, he'll try to seek a job with KIRO's new all-sports radio channel.

"I've been in this game a long time," Charlton said. "It's something I've been doing since I was a teenager in high school. It's a part of me and what I do."

Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or gbaker@seattletimes.com

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Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 27, 2008

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