Title: Red Sox's Duquette Looks to Keep Job
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) _ Dan Duquette said Friday he expects to remain general manager of the Boston Red Sox after the team's new owners take over.
The purchasing group, headed by John Henry, has kept its plans for Duquette private although there have been reports it is seeking alternatives. Baseball owners have approved the sale from the Jean R. Yawkey Trust, and Duquette said the closing will be March 1.
He has upset his own players and officials from other teams with an aloof attitude and personnel decisions such as the firing last year of bullpen coach John Cumberland.
But Duquette did have a good offseason. He acquired pitchers John Burkett, Dustin Hermanson and Darren Oliver, first baseman Tony Clark and outfielders Johnny Damon and Rickey Henderson while unloading troublesome outfielder Carl Everett.
When asked Friday at his first spring training appearance if he had the same parking spot at the Red Sox spring training facility, Duquette laughed.
"We're here," he said before changing the subject. "I think the fans are going to like the team. You know, whenever you start spring training all over again, it's a sign of spring. The boys are back in town."
Dressed in a brown leather sport coat and sitting on a bench in the shade outside the Red Sox clubhouse, Duquette spent the first 1 minute, 50 seconds of his meeting with reporters discussing the stability of the pitching staff and the lineup and making no mention of his future.
The first question, of course, concerned his future.
Asked if he had talked with the new owners, he said he had and added that "they're going to be a big asset to Boston."
The next four questions came in a rapid-fire manner.
Did they spell out his role?
"I'm the general manager. We're in spring training and I'm here. I'm the GM and I'm looking forward to the season," he said.
Does he expect to be the general manager after the closing?
"I'm looking forward to doing my job with the Red Sox and helping the Red Sox achieve their ultimate goal of a World Series championship."
The question was repeated: Does he expect to remain general manager?
"Uh, yes, I do."
Have the new owners spelled out to him that he's their guy?
He laughed and said, "Those are questions that you ought to put toward them, but I'm looking forward to having a good season here with the Red Sox."
Duquette is entering his ninth season as Red Sox general manager. They reached the playoffs four times in that span but never made it to the World Series.
Last season ended in turmoil when manager Jimy Williams was fired while the team was 65-53 and then went 17-26 under Joe Kerrigan and missed the playoffs.
Duquette said he has had "several" conversations with Larry Lucchino, who will be the team's new president, but wouldn't specify how many.
He said there's always uncertainty about how people fit in during a period of transition.
Duquette gave no direct indication that he had been told he would keep his job under the new owners but said, "They've been very positive about the moves we made in the offseason and they've told me that they're looking forward to working with me."
With two years left on his contract, what would happen if he were reassigned or given less authority?
"I'm not going to speculate on things that I don't think are going to happen," he said.
Image Caption: Boston Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette talks to reporters at the Red Sox spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., Friday, Feb. 15, 2002. (AP Photo/Victoria Arocho)