PITTSBURGH - Former Pirates manager John Russell did not speak with the local baseball media after his dismissal on Monday morning, but he did address several topics in an interview with MLB Network Radio later in the day. They included:
His release after three seasons: "It's unfortunate, but you learn to deal with it and move on. I can't wait to get back in the game in some other capacity because it's what I love. Now it's the time of just making a few phone calls and see if I can land on my feet somewhere.
"I kind of had a gut feeling this was probably going to happen. But you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed my time. I love the game of baseball and there are so many opportunities out there. Like I said, I look forward to getting back."
This May 11 file photo shows Pittsburgh Pirates manager John Russell watching from the dugout during a 9-0, one-hit shutout by the Cincinnati Reds, in a baseball game in Pittsburgh. The Pirates, on Monday, fired Russell, whose teams equaled a franchise record by losing 299 games in three seasons.
General manager Neil Huntington: "Neil and I are good friends and we've been through a lot together and I know it's been tough on him as well as myself. All I'll say is, again, I appreciate the opportunity Neil gave me. I appreciate everything he did. It was a great experience. I'll never forget it. And again, I wish the players well."
The reason for his release: "As far as going into details, it is what it is. I wish them the best of luck, and hopefully, I'm in the opposing dugout someday and we can go to battle that way. Overall, it is what it is and it's time for me to move on and I look forward to the next step."
The master plan: "It's gone well. They did a good job as far as getting some young talent and spending some money in the draft and things like that. It was kind of the blueprint that we had set up, and I felt like we were pretty much on that blueprint, that this is kind of what we envisioned that we were going to go through. I think (that), obviously, with some of their young players, there are some good things on the horizon for Pittsburgh.
"I appreciated the opportunity. I appreciated the chance to do what I love to do so I wish them the best. There are a lot of players over there that I'm very fond of and those guys really worked hard for me and the rest of the staff. I look forward to watching those guys grow. They're going to be a fun group. There's a lot of pride in it for me because I can't wait to see some of those guys continue to excel."
The chances for at least a .500 record next season: "It's a possibility. The big thing, I said it the other day (when) they asked me what's disappointing this year other than obviously the record and some things, our road record was really bad. But our starting pitching, you know, we lost 84 games in the rotation and that's just . . . It's astounding. It kind of floors me every time I think about it. That's the bottom line, and everybody knows if you can't pitch, it's going to be very difficult. Charlie Morton did come around, and Ross Ohlendorf comes back healthy, and James McDonald's going to be a big help, but I think that's going to be the telltale sign. If they pitch better, they've got a chance."
His career plans: "Obviously, I'd love to manage at the major league level again. Whether it happens now or in the future, I'll wait and see. I was a third base coach for a few years. I do have managing skills. So I think I'm qualified to do a few things, if it's bench coach or third base coach. Or you know, I really enjoyed being a Triple-A manager as well. I have a blast doing that. It's a lot of fun."