Hargrove steps aside

KEN FIDLIN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

SEATTLE -- With his team riding a eight-game win streak and battling for the American League West lead, Seattle Mariners manager Mike Hargrove dropped a bombshell here yesterday morning when he announced he was stepping down, effective today.

After 2,361 games -- including yesterday's 2-1 win over the Blue Jays -- as a big league manager, stretching back to 1991 when he debuted with the Cleveland Indians, Hargrove said his enthusiasm for the job just isn't at the level it needs to be. Essentially, he said, he's burnt out.

"Over the last several weeks I have come to the realization that to be fair to myself and the team, I cannot continue to do this job if my passion has begun to fade," he said.

Former Blue Jays coach and minor-league manager John McLaren, who has managed and coached for nearly 30 years, from the lowest to the highest rungs in baseball, has been named the 12th manager in Mariners history.

"We're playing great baseball," said McLaren, 55, his voice cracking with emotion. "I don't think we can play any better than we've been playing. That's what makes it so hard to comprehend.

"I've worked for a lot of great managers -- Jimy Williams, Cito Gaston, Lou Piniella and, of course Mike Hargrove. I've learned from all of them and I've been waiting for this day. It's not the perfect scenario to take over a ballclub but I'm ready to run with it."


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