Chiti’s de­par­ture came as a sur­prise

Coach wanted to stay, got no of­fer

Baltimore Sun - - BASEBALL - By Ed­uardo A. Encina eencina@balt­ twit­ Ed­dieInTheYard

The news that Ori­oles bullpen coach Dom Chiti was leav­ing the club to take a de­vel­op­men­tal po­si­tion with the At­lanta Braves was a sur­prise for many within the or­ga­ni­za­tion. That leaves the Ori­oles in need of not only a re­place­ment for pitch­ing coach Dave Wal­lace but also a new bullpen coach.

Al­though their ti­tles were dif­fer­ent, Wal­lace — a vet­eran pitch­ing coach who man­aged strong pitch­ing staffs with the Los An­ge­les Dodgers, Bos­ton Red Sox and New York Mets — and Chiti worked closely on all ma­jor league pitch­ing mat­ters. Over their three years with the or­ga­ni­za­tion, their mes­sage res­onated with an Ori­oles pitch­ing staff that made sig­nif­i­cant strides.

While most in the Ori­oles or­ga­ni­za­tion ex­pected this to be Wal­lace’s fi­nal year of ma­jor league coach­ing, Chiti was ex­pected to re­turn. Chiti said he planned to and wanted to re­main the Ori­oles bullpen coach in 2017, but once his one-year con­tract with the team ex­pired Mon­day with­out be­ing re­newed — and with­out a new of­fer from the club — he had to think of other op­tions.

One op­por­tu­nity emerged from the At­lanta Braves. A call from Braves pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions John Hart came Tues­day, ask­ing whether he was avail­able. He was, and within 48 hours, Chiti — along with Wal­lace — were head­ing to the Braves, with whom they worked to­gether for sev­eral years help­ing de­velop At­lanta’s young pitch­ers.

Chiti will be the di­rec­tor of pitch­ing, and Wal­lace will work as the spe­cial as­sis­tant to pitch­ing. The moves were re­ported Wed­nes­day by The Baltimore Sun and an­nounced by the Braves on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

Chiti said he rel­ished his time with the Ori­oles, an or­ga­ni­za­tion for which he was a player, coach and scout. He re­turned to the Ori­oles to be re­united with man­ager Buck Showal­ter. Chiti was the Texas Rangers bullpen coach in 2006, Showal­ter’s last of four sea­sons as man­ager of the club. Chiti said he re­gards Showal­ter as a brother, and after work­ing with many Ori­oles pitch­ers who flour­ished un­der the tute­lage of the ex­pe­ri­enced duo of him­self and Wal­lace, he said he re­garded his play­ers as sons.

“The three years I spent in Baltimore will al­ways be cher­ished, and they’ll be cher­ished from the op­por­tu­nity to work with Buck, who I con­sider to be one of the best man­agers in the game, and also the op­por­tu­nity to work with a lot of pitch­ers who were very spe­cial,” Chiti said.

Ori­oles l eft- han­der Zach Brit­ton, who be­came one of the game’s top closers un­der Wal­lace and Chiti, said he was “dis­ap­pointed” to see Chiti go, but said he un­der­stood Chiti’s sit­u­a­tion.

Once Wal­lace’s pitch­ing coach job opened, filling that spot be­came the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s top pri­or­ity, and ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent Dan Du­quette said that took prece­dence.

“After we find the right match for the pitch­ing coach, we’ll ad­dress the bullpen coach along with [in­put] from the new pitch­ing coach.”

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