04/30/2002 4:44 pm ET
Mizerock interim manager
By Robert Falkoff / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Tony Muser is out, John Mizerock is in.
But for how long?
In formally announcing Muser's firing on Tuesday, Royals General Manager Allard Baird said Mizerock is the interim manager and will be considered for the job. But Baird said he also will consider candidates inside and outside the Royals' organization for the permanent position.
"In my mind, there's not a timetable on this," Baird said. "It's knowing you get the right guy. What does it mean to have the right guy? I think you look at your ballclub, your veterans, your young players that you have to get answers on ... you have to factor in your prospects in the minor leagues. Then that manager has to match up to those players and that approach."
Baird is on record as saying he thinks Royals Triple-A manager Bucky Dent could make a good Major League manager down the line. But in terms of the names outside the organization, Baird said he won't reveal any wish list.
"I'm not going to get into specifics," Baird said. "I'm not going to talk about a list of candidates."
While Muser was preparing to fly back to Kansas City Tuesday, Mizerock burst into the spotlight with a round of interviews. Mizerock, 41, managed in the Royals' minor league system before being named bullpen coach last winter. Mizerock was named Manager of the Year in 1999 after leading Wichita to the Texas League title. A former catcher in the Astros' organization, Mizerock managed several of the current Royals at Triple-A Omaha last year.
"I don't have a formula or a plan per se to turn this thing around, other than straight out baseball, practice, hard work," Mizerock said.
Mizerock inherits an 8-15 team that hasn't had more than a two-game winning streak.
"There's a lot of ability in that clubhouse," Mizerock said. "There are a lot of good players. For whatever reason, in the first month of the season, they all haven't performed at one time. About everything that could have gone wrong did. I don't think any one man can say 'I'll get all that fixed today, that's not a problem.'
"Some of the players who aren't getting it done right now, I think they are getting tired of losing. They're past the point of putting pressure on themselves. Enough is enough. Let's go out there and get it done."
Mizerock is hopeful that the pitching staff will stabilize while a few hitters who are struggling now get hot simultaneously.
"You look up and you've won four of six, six of 10, seven of 10. It looks easy when it's done correctly," Mizerock said. "It looks like you'll never get a hit when you're in a slump, which some guys are."
Mizerock said he's not bothered by having an interim label at this stage.
"I'm a kid in a candy store now," Mizerock said. "However long it is, it's going to be great. With an eye on looking to the future for the players, not myself. We have some questions we are going to try and solve in the lineup. Not for my personal sake. For the players' sake and for the future of the Royals.
"I'm perfectly content with that word (interim) in front of my name. I don't deserve anything other than that."
Among Mizerock's ideas for the lineup is the possibility of flip-flopping Carlos Beltran and Mike Sweeney, with Sweeney hitting No. 3 and Beltran No. 4. Mizerock said he likes the idea of Sweeney getting a guaranteed at-bat in the first inning, Beltran may have more inclination to run if he's not in a position of taking the bat out of Sweeney's hands.
Although Mizerock doesn't have Major League managing experience, Baird doesn't view that as a crucial factor.
"I think it's important, but I also think it's important to have some minor league experience," Baird said. "Especially with a team like the Royals, where you're always going to have an infusion of young talent."
By promoting Mizerock, Baird thinks the transition will be smoother than if a stranger came in to take the reins.
"Is it going to be troubling to our players for a few days? No question about it," Baird said. "But I think it'll be a much easier transition. There's a lot of season left. We're looking at it as a move that will help us reach our maximum potential."
Mizerock could get closer Roberto Hernandez and outfielder Mark Quinn back from the disabled list within the week.
"Our players have to perform," Baird said. "We have a certain amount of ability and our approach is to maximize that ability and turn that into more wins."
With Mizerock vacating the Royals' bullpen coach role, roving catching instructor Brian Poldberg will move up to take that job.
Robert Falkoff covers the Royals for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.