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07/02/07 12:00 AM ET
Reds cut ties with manager Narron
Advance scout Mackanin takes over team on interim basis
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- The Reds announced Monday that manager Jerry Narron has been dismissed and that team advance scout Pete Mackanin will become interim manager. Narron was informed of the move after Sunday's 11-7 loss to the Cardinals. General manager Wayne Krivsky was not available for comment. Krivsky and owner/chief executive officer Bob Castellini will hold a 12 p.m. ET news conference Monday at Great American Ball Park. "I met separately with Wayne and Bob," Narron said by phone late Sunday night. "They told me how they felt. I told them how I felt. I wished them all the best." Narron, 51, was replaced as Cincinnati holds the worst record in baseball at 31-51 while sitting 16 1/2 games behind the first-place Brewers in the National League Central standings. The club has lost its last six series in a row in the third and deciding game. "The one thing I do appreciate was that the players continued to push and grind it out," Narron said. "I know they'll continue to play hard. I think the coaching staff was a great staff. I appreciated the fans. We had great crowds this weekend and they were being supportive." Coming off an 80-82 season in 2006 in which the Reds were in playoff contention most of the way until a late-August collapse, there was a lot of optimism within the organization about its chances this season. On June 28, 2006, an optimistic Castellini gave Narron a two-year contract extension through the 2008 season with a club option for 2009. Krivsky also had a 2008 contract option picked up. Reds players were still digesting the news about the changing of managers. "We went through the same thing in '05 with [former manager Dave] Miley," reliever Todd Coffey said. "You hate to see it happen, but it's part of the game." "Based on his relationship with the front office, I was surprised," starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo said. "I thought they liked him a lot and they signed him for a second year. But losing 50 games in the first half is a big deal." Little has gone right on the field for Narron and Krivsky this season. Featuring three rookies, the Reds' bullpen ranks as one of the worst in the NL, with only closer David Weathers serving as a reliable option. There was little Narron could to prevent late-inning leads from collapsing and close deficits from becoming blowouts. Offensively, the club leads the Majors with 116 home runs, but is ranked last at hitting with runners in scoring position (.231). Narron appeared to hold no grudges over the Reds' decision. "For me, it's been a tremendous honor to be manager of the Cincinnati Reds," Narron said. "I'm definitely disappointed that our record wasn't good this year. I've said all along that I think we're close to having a competitive ballclub. "I've enjoyed working for Bob Castellini and Joe and Tom Williams. I wish them all the best. Hopefully, they'll get things turned around. Hopefully, Wayne will make moves that get the job done." As recently as May 14, Krivsky voiced emphatic support of Narron after the Reds began a steady descent. "It's not even on my radar," Krivsky insisted at the time. "There's no panic. And there's no pointing fingers. Right now, we're underperforming as a team. And I emphasize team. There will be a lot of good days ahead for us." Since taking over the Reds manager's job from Miley on June 21, 2005, Narron was 157-179 (.467). He joined the organization as Miley's bench coach on Dec. 23, 2003. "I had a good relationship with Jerry," Arroyo said. "He's a pretty quiet guy. He was always on an even keel and I enjoy that in a manager. He wouldn't explode or have a temper and once I got to the Major Leagues, I thought that was helpful." "I like Jerry, always have," Coffey said. "I wish him the best. I came up when Jerry was bench coach and then manager in '05. He's been my only manager since then. I hope he catches on with somebody else." Mackanin will be introduced 4 p.m. ET Tuesday during a press conference. He will be the 59th manager in Reds history, and the 49th since 1900. Mackanin previously was in the organization from 1990-92, when he managed Triple-A Nashville, and he rejoined the Reds in February 2006 when Krivsky hired him to be the big-league club's advance scout. This will be Mackanin's second stint as an interim manager in the Major Leagues. In 2005, he managed the final 26 games for the Pirates after Lloyd McClendon was let go. Mackanin has seven seasons of Major League coaching experience. He was the Expos' third-base coach from 1997-2000 and the Pirates' bench coach from 2003-05. He managed for 13 years in the Minor Leagues. A former infielder, Mackanin played in 548 games over nine Major League seasons with the Rangers, Expos, Phillies and Twins. Meanwhile, Narron has made no immediate plans for his future. The Goldsboro, N.C. resident will likely return home in the next few days to mull his options. "I'm not real sure about what I'm going to do. I haven't thought about it," Narron said. "All I was thinking about after today's game was Tuesday's game against the San Francisco Giants."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.