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Notes: Randolph to meet with Mets
10/12/2004 10:08 PM ET
NEW YORK -- Willie Randolph has been down the managerial interview process about a dozen times in his career, and he's ready to do it again this winter.

The New York Mets, looking for a manager after the dismissal of Art Howe at the end of the season, received permission to interview the Yankees' bench coach for the position. Mets general manager Omar Minaya contacted Yankees GM Brian Cashman on Tuesday to ask permission.

"I'm excited about that," Randolph said. "I'm looking forward to sitting down with Omar. I've watched him for a couple of years, and he seems like a smart, bright young executive. Those interviews usually last about four hours. We'll have some time."

Randolph, who coached third base for the Yankees for nine years, is finishing his first campaign as the club's bench coach. Manager Joe Torre said that Randolph's experience from 2004 can only help his chances, though he hopes that the interest in Randolph isn't primarily as a minority candidate.

"It certainly helps his resume," Torre said. "I just hope it's more than having to interview minorities. That's grueling on Willie, because you get to the point, unfortunately, that you get ready to interview, and if you think it's just one of those things, you're not prepared to interview properly."

Randolph said last month that he didn't know Minaya well, having met him on just a few occasions. Randolph has been a serious candidate for several managerial vacancies, though one of the marks against him is that he has never managed in the minor leagues.

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"I've never had a problem sitting down and talking to baseball people about baseball," Randolph said. "They fire questions at you, spur of the moment. There's no way to prepare for it. Rely on your instincts and what you know. Have fun with it."

It is unclear when the Mets will interview Randolph, but he has made it clear that he plans on keeping his focus on the Red Sox and the American League Championship Series.

"We can talk all we want about the Mets," Randolph said. "Right now, I'm trying to stay focused on what we're doing right now."

Game 4 still undecided: The Yankees haven't decided whether Orlando Hernandez or Javier Vazquez will take the mound in Game 4 on Saturday at Fenway Park.

Hernandez, who has been nursing a tired right shoulder since Oct. 1, threw a bullpen on Monday and played catch on Tuesday. Hernandez did not speak with reporters, but a team source said that he remained optimistic that he would be able to pitch in Game 4, should Torre ask him to do so.

Torre said that he and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre had not decided on a pitcher. Stottlemyre said Monday that an announcement probably wouldn't come until at least Thursday.

"Let's see when he wants to play catch and throw again, how strong he is," Torre said. "What's working on his behalf is the experience factor and know-how. He's certainly more realistic than he was in the last series."

Vazquez allowed five runs in five innings in his Game 4 ALDS start against the Twins, taking a no-decision after the Yankees made a late-inning comeback to clinch the best-of-five series. Vazquez was pitching a good game until the Twins plated three runs against him in the fifth, which turned out to be his final inning.

"Javy pitched well the other day and answered a lot of questions about how he'll handle postseason play," Torre said. "He may have come out on the short end, but I liked what I saw."

Sierra sitting: Ruben Sierra is not in the starting lineup for Game 1, as Torre decided to go with Kenny Lofton as the designated hitter because of his .304 average against Curt Schilling.

The manager said that he hasn't decided who will start as the in DH Game 2, but he hinted that he likes having Sierra as a weapon off the bench to pinch-hit late in a game.

"Ruben gives me an option off the bench," Torre said. "I've been reluctant to pinch-hit when Ruben's in the game, but when he's on the bench, it makes it a little easier to hit for Cairo if I wanted to do it."

Sierra started three of the four ALDS games, hitting a three-run homer to tie the deciding game of the series.

Pep talk? Torre said he had no plans to make a speech to his team before Tuesday night's opener, feeling that his players know what's at stake without having to hear it from him.

"I haven't had a very good track record this year," said Torre of his speeches. "I'll shake everybody's hand like I did last series, say, 'Go get 'em' like I did last series."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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