Du­quette hopes to find pitch­ing coach this week

Team must also re­place Chiti, Peter­son; fans can ex­pect slow early off­sea­son

Baltimore Sun - - MLB & ORIOLES - By Jon Me­oli jme­oli@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/JonMe­oli

Ori­oles ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent Dan Du­quette said Thurs­day that he hopes the team’s search for a pitch­ing coach to re­place Dave Wal­lace on the ma­jor league coach­ing staff will end soon.

“We’re still work­ing on the pitch­ing coach and try­ing to get some­thing re­solved this week,” Du­quette said. “So we had some good can­di­dates [in­ter­viewed], and we’ve had some pro­duc­tive talks af­ter we in­ter­viewed the can­di­dates.”

The team has in­ter­viewed for­mer Atlanta Braves pitch­ing coach Roger McDow­ell and Dou­ble-A Bowie pitch­ing coach Alan Mills, among oth­ers. Du­quette said Thurs­day on the Ori­oles’ “Hot Stove” ra­dio show on105.7 The Fan that New York Mets mi­nor league pitch­ing coach Frank Vi­ola, St. Louis Car­di­nals mi­nor league pitch­ing co­or­di­na­tor Tim Leveque and Texas Rangers mi­nor league pitch­ing co­or­di­na­tor Danny Clark also in­ter­viewed.

The Ori­oles have been with­out a pitch­ing coach since just af­ter the sea­son ended, when Wal­lace re­tired from ac­tive ma­jor league coach­ing shortly af­ter the club lost the American League wild-card game. Wal­lace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti ended up back with the Braves, where the for­mer will be a spe­cial as­sis­tant in the front of­fice and the lat­ter will be di­rec­tor of pitch­ing de­vel­op­ment.

They’re also go­ing to have to fill the role of Rick Peter­son, who spent five years as the Ori­oles’ di­rec­tor of pitch­ing de­vel­op­ment and over­saw sev­eral suc­cess sto­ries through the mi­nor leagues but will not re­turn for 2017 ei­ther.

Re­plac­ing their col­lec­tive decades of ex­pe­ri­ence will be dif­fi­cult but al­lows the new regime on the pitch­ing side to present a uni­fied voice, as op­posed to meld­ing re­turn­ing coaches to a new­comer’s vi­sion.

“Pitch­ing is an im­por­tant part of any club,” Du­quette said. “So we’ve got some good veteran, accomplished base­ball peo­ple. The chal­lenge now is to re­place them, and we’re not go­ing to have the ex­pe­ri­ence in these coaches that we had. They’re not go­ing to have the vol­ume of ex­pe­ri­ence that Wal­lace and Peter­son and Chiti brought to the or­ga­ni­za­tion, but hope­fully we’ll be able to find some coaches to help con­tinue to de­velop our pitch­ing.” No big early splash: Du­quette said on Thurs­day’s pro­gram that the early part of Dan Du­quette told Ori­oles fans not to ex­pect a “big splashy off­sea­son.” the off­sea­son might be slow for the Ori­oles.

“I can’t tell you this is go­ing to be a big splashy off­sea­son,” Du­quette said. “We spent a lot of money last year. We staffed our team, we made the play­offs again and a lot of those play­ers are com­ing back. We are go­ing to fill the holes, get a lit­tle more ath­letic in the out­field, look for some catch­ing depth, try to get bet­ter on-base ca­pa­bil­ity — those are all things we’re go­ing to be look­ing to im­prove in the off­sea­son.”

Ear­lier in the show, while dis­cussing the po­ten­tial de­par­ture of free-agent slug­ger Mark Trumbo and the pos­si­bil­ity of rookie Trey Mancini re­plac­ing him in the lineup, Du­quette men­tioned a right fielder, a des­ig­nated hit­ter and a pla­toon part­ner for left fielder Hyun Soo Kim as pri­or­i­ties as well.

There was some tem­per­ing of ex­pec­ta­tions as to when that would hap­pen, though.

“The fans that have fol­lowed the club closely know that we build the ros­ter year-round, and we don’t try to win the di­vi­sion in De­cem­ber and Novem­ber, but we try to make good de­ci­sions so that we have the team staffed ap­pro­pri­ately and we have good play­ers,” Du­quette said. “We’re very me­thod­i­cal, and we’re crit­i­cal of who we bring onto the team. There’s a good rea­son for that. We­want a good fit, the job to match the player and the player to match the job, and the player to fit into the club­house and play good de­fense.”


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