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Stottlemyre, Riggleman, Charlton, Rodriguez join M's coaching staff

SEATTLE -- The Mariners overhauled their coaching staff
Monday, hiring Mel Stottlemyre, Jim Riggleman and Norm Charlton.

Stottlemyre, a former pitching coach with the Yankees and Mets,
took the same position in Seattle. Riggleman, an ex-manager in the
majors, will be the bench coach. And Charlton, who spent 13 seasons
as a relief pitcher in the big leagues, is the bullpen coach.

"I always wondered what it would be like to be in baseball but
still be able to come home every day," Stottlemyre, a resident of
the Seattle suburbs, said by telephone from his home Monday night
after agreeing to a one-year contract.

He said the Seattle job was the only one that was going to get
him back in baseball full time.

Also, Eddie Rodriguez took over as the Mariners' first base
coach. Mariners general
manager Bill Bavasi retained only hitting coach Jeff Pentland from last
season's staff.

"We were looking for hardworking guys who can teach, and who
have a proven track record of helping teams win," Bavasi said.

Seattle manager John McLaren, a major league coach for 21 years
before taking over when manager Mike Hargrove abruptly resigned on
July 2, has experience working with each of his new hires -- not to
mention Larry Bowa.

Bowa, a longtime major league shortstop and former manager of
the Padres and Phillies, was on Joe Torre's staff with the Yankees
as third base coach last season. McLaren has asked him to take the
same job in Seattle.

Bowa, mentioned as a possible replacement in New York now that
Torre is gone, has asked for time to take care of a private issue
not directly affecting himself before he answers the Mariners'
offer, but indications are he will accept.

"I feel very positive Larry's situation will work itself out
... maybe within a week," McLaren said. "I think we've got one of
the best coaching staffs in baseball. They've all been around
winning."

McLaren's own contract for 2008 is close to being completed. He
said Monday's hires leave him feeling very comfortable.

"I think everyone who dreams of managing in the big leagues,
you like to get your guys in there," he said.

The 65-year-old Stottlemyre was a spring training instructor for
the Arizona Diamondbacks last year. He has been living in the
Seattle suburb of Sammamish since leaving the Yankees after a
10-year term, following the 2005 season.

Stottlemyre, a pitching coach for 22 years replaces Rafael
Chaves, whom Hargrove chose over Stottlemyre two years ago.

"I do have some beliefs," Stottlemyre said. "The Seattle
Mariners pitching staff will be pitching inside more next year than
it has in previous years."

He'll be asked to improve a staff that was a major weakness for
the Mariners last season, compiling a 5.16 ERA, 12th in the AL.
Stottlemyre will have 21-year-old ace Felix Hernandez to work with,
plus returning veterans Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista.

Jeff Weaver (7-13, 6.20 ERA) is a free agent, and injury-prone
Horacio Ramirez may not be retained after going 8-7 with a 7.16
ERA.

McLaren said he's long admired Stottlemyre for developing
pitchers' strengths.

"I think sometimes we tried to go after the weaknesses of other
hitters, [instead of] relying on the strengths of our pitchers,"
McLaren said.

In 2000, Stottlemyre began treatment for multiple myeloma, a
cancer of bone marrow for which there is currently treatment but no
cure. He takes one pill nightly in three-week cycles per month to
maintain a proper level of white blood cells.

"I am doing absolutely super. I have no signs of the disease,"
he said. "I wouldn't call it 'remission' as I would say that I'm
on a tremendous maintenance program."

Added McLaren: "I sure wouldn't want to mess with Mel. He's
strong as a horse."

Riggleman, a 54-year-old who would like to manage again, has a
good relationship with Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre.
Riggleman was the Dodgers' bench coach from 2001-04, while Beltre
was with Los Angeles.

Riggleman had been the minor-league field coordinator for three
seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals when McLaren's offer came.

The Mariners were a surprise last season, reaching 20 games over
.500 and leading the AL wild-card race in late August before 15
losses in 17 games doomed them. They finished 88-74, a 10-game
improvement over 2006, and in second place in the AL West following
three consecutive last-place seasons.