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Neil Allen likely to be pitching coach
ESPN.com news services
During last offseason, New York Yankees manager Joe Torre lost his longtime trusted bench coach, Don Zimmer. This offseason, it's his longtime trusted pitching coach, Mel Stottlemyre, who apparently will be leaving.
Stottlemyre is expected to beat Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to the punch, according to The New York Times, and leave before The Boss can tell him that he's not coming back.
Zimmer did the same last season, blistering Steinbrenner on the way out and landing with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a part-time coach. Stottlemyre is expected to retire from baseball after a career that ran from three seasons in the '60s as a 20-game winner for the Yankees to the last nine years as Torre's pitching coach.
The Times cited a "person who spoke to one of Stottlemyre's colleagues" as saying Stottlemyre will not be back. He likely would be replaced by Neil Allen, a former pitcher for Torre with the Mets and the pitching coach at Triple-A Columbus the last two seasons.
Stottlemyre could feel, the Times noted, that he is likely to be Steinbrenner's fall guy for the failure of the Yankees' starting pitching this past season. The Yankees had hoped for more from Javier Vazquez and Kevin Brown than they got.
In 2003, when they had Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and David Wells in the rotation, the Yankees had a 4.02 earned run average, third best in the AL. In 2004, their ERA rose to 4.69, sixth in the league.
Stottlemyre actually thought be might be fired last year by Steinbrenner, who is wont to fire coaches as a motivational tool for players and coaches who are still with the team.
Whether that's in this year's plan isn't known, and general manager Brian Cashman isn't saying.
"I'm not prepared to discuss the coaching staff at this point," Cashman said yesterday.
When asked whether Stottlemyre had contacted him, Cashman declined to comment, and Stottlemyre did not respond to a Times telephone message left at his home in Issaquah, Wash., though the New York Post is reporting that Stottlemyre could make known today his decision to quit.
Should Stottlemyre leave, and should bench coach Willie Randolph be hired as Mets manager, the Yankees' coaching staff could have an almost totally new look next season, especially if hitting coach Don Mattingly decides he doesn't want to come back.