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Did honesty cost Larry Bowa his job? Trey Hillman reportedly in line as Dodgers' bench coach

October 21, 2010 |  6:41 am

That looks like the end of Larry Bowa, Dodgers coach.

Without fanfare, without even a tip of the cap. Without any proper sendoff at all.

Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick has reported that ex-Kansas City Royals manager Trey Hillman has emerged as the front-runner to be Don Mattingly’s first bench coach.

Bowa had served as Joe Torre's third base coach the past three seasons. And rookie manager Mattingly had  wanted wanted Bowa to serve as his bench coach next season.

Only, Mattingly doesn’t have carte blanche when it comes to choosing his first coaching staff. Not exactly unique but still far from ideal. If the team doesn’t respond to his staff, Mattingly can always claim it’s because he wasn’t allowed to put together the staff he wanted.

"We won't have anybody that he's not comfortable with or anybody that I'm not comfortable with," said General Manager Ned Colletti at the end of the season.

Bowa, who wanted to return, said on the Dan Patrick show Wednesday he was not coming back to the Dodgers next season.

So, apparently, Colletti did not want Bowa back. You have to guess why, but the leading contender is, some felt Bowa was too hard on the kids. Because, you know, he wanted them actually to play hard.

Bowa had one dustup with Matt Kemp that was blown out of proportion, but people acted like he was riding the moody outfielder all season. It was Bowa, the crusty old-school coach. Bowa being too demanding. It was all very silly.

Ironically, the only one -- and the first -- to seriously criticize Kemp’s play was Colletti.

Said Colletti to KABC radio’s Peter Tilden of Kemp in April: "Some guys, I guess, think that they're better than they are. They think the opposition's just going to roll over and get beat by them. That obviously doesn't happen.

"The baserunning's below average. The defense is below average. Why is it? Because he got a new deal? I can't tell you."

All Bowa said was Kemp too often relied on his superb talent and did not always play as hard as he could. To which Kemp replied: He’s right.

Colletti, of course, is not going anywhere, but Bowa is out.

Replaced by a guy who managed the Royals to a 152-207 mark before getting fired May 13. I would love to give you some keen insight into Hillman, but that would require actually having watched the Royals much. And who is ever that bored? Maybe if you live in Kansas City.

Admittedly, the Royals gave Hillman precious little to work with, so maybe he’ll do fine in the Dodgers dugout. Who really knows?

He comes with yet another Yankees connection, having managed in their system for 12 years. Really, isn’t it time this Yankees fascination stopped?

Bowa likely will end up on another team, and they’ll be better off for it. Of course, they’ll have to brace for him asking them to play hard.

-- Steve Dilbeck

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