Piniella might stick to TV for 2006 season

Updated: October 15, 2005, 9:56 PM ET
Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Lou Piniella is having so much fun with his postseason TV gig that he's considering spending the 2006 season in the booth.

"I might be doing this next year," Piniella told The Associated Press on Saturday before working the Fox Sports broadcast for Game 4 of the AL championship series at Angel Stadium. "It's not for sure -- nothing's for sure. I like it. I'm enjoying this."

Piniella parted ways with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays earlier this month after three difficult seasons as manager. He has hinted he might take a year off before returning to the dugout -- though he certainly might change his mind once October is over and has time to fully think things through.

There is speculation if New York manager Joe Torre doesn't return that the Yankees might express interest in the 62-year-old Piniella, who spent the final 11 seasons of his 18-year playing career in pinstripes.

"It's a totally different perspective," Piniella said. "One thing, when the game's over, you can go home and get a good night's rest and not have to worry about wins and losses -- a big change. I don't even talk baseball. Isn't that great?"

Fox has received feedback that Piniella's work in the booth as an analyst alongside Joe Buck and Tim McCarver has been a success so far.

"That's terrific, I'm happy for him," Fox Sports spokesman Lou D'Ermilio said of Piniella's thoughts to stick with TV. "Lou's doing a great job for us this postseason, but it's very premature for us to be thinking about next year. He's doing a terrific job with Joe and Tim."

Piniella returned to his native Tampa after the 2002 season following 10 years in Seattle, where he led the Mariners to an AL-record 116 wins in 2001 during Ichiro Suzuki's Rookie of the Year season. Piniella was hired to turn around the losing Devil Rays, but ultimately had a difference of opinion with ownership and questioned management's commitment to winning.

Piniella had one season remaining on a $13 million, four-year contract he signed in October 2002, but will receive a buyout that calls for him to get $2.2 million of the $4.4 million he was due next season, as well as $1.25 million in deferred salary from 2003.

For Piniella, it's a new kind of grind getting prepared to go in front of the camera each game. He gets nervous, too -- not surprising for this often demonstrative manager who's not one to hide his emotions on the field.

"There is more work involved than what you think. Especially for me, I expend a lot of nervous energy," he said. "You get tired. I'm worn out after the game. It's all different (studying)."

Piniella has a record of 2,939-1,519 in 19 seasons as a major league manager. He began his managerial career with the Yankees, spending the 1986-88 seasons in the Bronx.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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