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Friday, October 4
Bench coach Stanley leaves for personal reasons

Associated Press

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox fired Tommy Harper, Bob Kipper and fan favorite Dwight Evans from their coaching staff Friday in moves that cement manager Grady Little's control of and future with the Red Sox.

The team also said that bench coach Mike Stanley would leave the team for personal reasons. Pitching coach Tony Cloninger and third base coach Mike Cubbage were retained.

No replacements were named, but Little and interim general manager Mike Port said they had begun talking to possible replacements.

Evans, 50, spent 19 of his 20 years as a player with the Red Sox, retiring after the 1991 season. He rejoined the Red Sox organization in 2001 as a player development consultant was promoted to hitting coach last December by then-manager Joe Kerrigan.

Port said he expected all three fired coaches would be considered for other positions in the organization.

The Red Sox finished 93-69 in Little's first season as manager, 10½ games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.

"By spring training, realizing we already had a staff in place when Grady came on board, we advised Grady we would live with this staff this year, (and) at the end of the year we would regroup,'' Port said.

Port was also asked whether Little's involvement in assembling his own staff meant he would stay on as manager.

"I think that does, bottom line, bode very well in Grady's favor,'' said Port, who was also hired by the team's new ownership before this season. The team is searching for a full-time GM, and Port is being considered.

Little said the moves were made both to put his own people in place and improve the Red Sox chemistry. He declined to say directly whether he'd been told he would be staying on for the long run, but said he had been told to go ahead and help assemble next year's team.

Evans is a three-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove right fielder. He ranks second all-time for the Red Sox in games played (2,505) and at-bats (8,726).

"We have no specific plans for him going forward, but expect we will consider him for other positions,'' Port said.

Harper, 61, completed his third year as first base, outfield and base-running coach. He was also a first-base coach for the team from 1981-84.

Harper played in the major leagues for 15 years, including three seasons (1972-74) with Boston.

Kipper, 38, was promoted to bullpen coach in 2002 after three years as pitching coach in the minor league system. The left-hander spent eight years in the majors as a player, most of those in Pittsburgh.

Cloninger was hired after Little was named manager during spring training. He led a top-heavy staff this year that had two 20-game winners, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe, but struggled in the other three starting slots and bullpen.

Stanley, 39, played 15 seasons in the majors, retiring after the 2000 season which he started in Boston and ended in Oakland. He joined the Red Sox in 2002 as the bench coach.

"By no means do I think he's going to be stepping out permanently from the game of baseball,'' Little said. "He's got a young family. It was tough on him this year.''

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