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Baker's in charge in Cincinnati

New Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker puts on a Reds' jersey after being introduced Monday.
New Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker puts on a Reds' jersey after being introduced Monday.
David Kohl, Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Dusty Baker had a whole new look.

The 58-year-old manager put on a bright red Cincinnati cap and a red-and-white jersey Monday during his introduction as the next Reds manager. The color just didn't fit.

"This is my first red uniform in my whole life," Baker said.

As an outfielder, he won a World Series ring while wearing Dodger blue in 1981. As a manager, he has won 1,162 games in San Francisco's orange and black and Cubs blue.

He led the Giants to the 2002 World Series and got the Cubs within five outs of the 2003 Series, two near-misses that still gnaw at him. After one year of working in television, he's back in baseball and back on his quest.

"I'm inspired," said Baker, the first black manager in the history of baseball's first professional team. "I feel that I was brought here for a number of reasons, not just to manage a baseball team.

"Hopefully we can all come together for the same goal of winning, and we can have that championship ticker-tape parade, which is what I really, really need. I need that badly. You just don't know how bad I do need that.'

STONEMAN OUT IN L.A: Bill Stoneman, who built the Angels' only World Series championship team, is expected to step down after seven years as general manager.

The Angels called a news conference for this morning for what they described as a major announcement.

"It's going to be a baseball operations-related press conference," Angels spokesman Tim Mead said.

Multiple media reports said Stoneman will remain with the organization as a consultant.

The Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site that Tony Reagins, the Angels' director of player development, is expected to become the new GM.

The city went zany when Ken Griffey Jr. returned to his hometown before the 2000 season, but it was little more than an overnight sensation. The Reds are coming off their seventh straight losing season, their longest such stretch since 1945-55.

They've been through two owners and three general managers since 2003. Baker is their fifth manager over that span, following Bob Boone, Dave Miley, Jerry Narron and Pete Mackanin, who took over on an interim basis last July.

About that time, general manager Wayne Krivsky first approached Baker, who was fired by the Cubs after their last-place finish in 2006. Baker, currently an analyst for ESPN, didn't hear from the Reds again until after the season.

They made it clear he was the one they wanted.

"We wanted to come up with the person we felt was the best person to take the Reds forward and bring winning back to the Reds, but also provide the stability, continuity, credibility I spoke about," general manager Wayne Krivsky said.

Baker was impressed by the way the Reds pursued him, offering a three-year deal. He wanted to get back to managing, and felt right about the chance.

"This is the place where I was most wanted," Baker said. "That's a great feeling when you feel wanted and needed. You go into things with an upbeat attitude."

LA RUSSA HEARING POSTPONED: St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's drunken driving hearing was postponed until Dec. 3.

La Russa did not appear in court Monday when the hearing delay was announced. He was arrested March 22 and charged with drunken driving after police said they found him asleep inside his running sport utility vehicle at a stop light near the Cardinals' spring training facility in Jupiter.

Two breath samples registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.093 percent and 0.092 percent. Florida's legal driving limit is 0.08 percent.

La Russa later apologized. The four-time manager of the year led the Cardinals to a World Series title last season.

RANGERS MOVES: Former closer Akinori Otsuka was activated from the disabled list on Monday by the Texas Rangers.

Otsuka, who had 32 saves in 2006 before the Rangers signed Eric Gagne, missed half of the 2007 season because of a forearm injury. He ended this season on the 60-day disabled list after going 2-1 with a 2.51 ERA and four saves in 34 appearances.

Texas also activated right-hander Josh Rupe (elbow) and shortstop Joaquin Arias (shoulder), who missed the entire season.

Pitcher Willie Eyre, a Cyprus High product, was activated, sent outright to the minors and agreed to a minor league contract. The right-hander, 4-6 with a 5.16 ERA, had elbow ligament replacement surgery in August and might not pitch in the majors until 2009.