Browning hired after Sabo quits

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 22, 2003

HAMILTON, Ohio -- Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tom Browning will replace one of his ex-teammates as manager of the Florence Freedom minor league team.

Browning, the only Reds pitcher to throw a perfect game, was to be introduced at a news conference Thursday, the day after the Frontier League expansion team announced former Cincinnati third baseman Chris Sabo had resigned as manager.

Browning, who also will be the club's director of baseball operations, will be in the dugout Friday night for the season opener in Chillicothe.

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''I think this is a real positive move,'' said general manager Connie Hildebrant.

The Freedom will play home games in this southwest Ohio city this season while a new stadium is built in what will be their permanent home in Florence, Ky. The team's home opener in Hamilton is June 3.

The Freedom said Wednesday that Sabo, a former All-Star third baseman, left a resignation letter on a coach's desk Saturday, and owners concluded his resignation was effective that day.

''Chris Sabo stated a professional difference with coaching style as his reason for leaving,'' a team statement said.

Sabo, 41, said Wednesday that he regretted leaving just before the opener, but was worn down after two years of promotional events for the team. He originally agreed two years ago to serve as manager for only three months, he said.

''To tell you the truth, I'm just extremely exhausted and tired,'' Sabo said. ''I just want to get some sleep and recharge my batteries.''

He wished the team luck.

''I don't feel animosity toward anybody,'' he said.