Piniella may choose booth over dugout in 2006

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

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.