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Stumbling Orioles fire manager Trembley

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - The Baltimore Orioles, off to their worst start in more than two decades and sitting at the bottom of the Major League Baseball standings, fired manager Dave Trembley, the team said on Friday.

Trembley, who had a 187-283 record since being hired as the Orioles' manager in June 2007, will be replaced on an interim basis by the team's third base coach Juan Samuel.

The Orioles' 15-39 start to the season is the franchise's worst start since the 1988 team opened the season with 21 consecutive losses.

"Nobody believes the reason we have the record we do is somehow Dave Trembley's fault, or that making a change will magically change everything," Orioles president Andy MacPhail said at a press conference. "But we reached a point we felt this was the appropriate thing to do."

MacPhail said Trembley had been asked to stay with the Baltimore organization but had not yet responded.

Trembley, who was named the team's interim manager in June 2007 before being named manager two months later, is the second MLB manager to be fired this season. Kansas City fired manager Trey Hillman in May.

"The results on the field were not what any of us would have hoped for, and I understand that the organization felt the time was right to move in a different direction," Trembley said in a statement.

Samuel, 49, played in the majors for 16 seasons, primarily as a second baseman. He was a three-time National League All-Star.

In his 27th year in professional baseball, Samuel has been the Orioles' third base coach for four seasons.

"I hope to inject some spark into these players," Samuel said at the press conference. "It's an opportunity I do not take lightly, and have full intention of taking advantage of it."

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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