Orioles announce Dom Chiti hire; Bill Castro declines offer to stay in other role

The Baltimore Sun

The Orioles formally announced Monday afternoon the hiring of new bullpen coach Dom Chiti, who previously has worked closely with both manager Buck Showalter and new pitching coach Dave Wallace.

Meanwhile, former bullpen coach Bill Castro will not return to the Orioles as he declined a job offer elsewhere in the organization in a somewhat acrimonious departure. Castro took over as pitching coach in August when Rick Adair took a personal leave of absence.

Scott McGregor, who filled Castro’s spot as bullpen coach for the final month and a half of the 2013 season, said he has been told he will return to his former position of pitching rehab coordinator next season.

Chiti, whose coaching and scouting career spans three decades, was Showalter’s bullpen coach in 2006 during Showalter’s final season as the Texas Rangers manager. In Chiti's time as an Atlanta Braves special assistant the past five years, he also worked alongside Wallace in pitching development.

"I’m very excited to get the opportunity," Chiti said. "But I’m also very excited to get back together with Buck and continue with Dave Wallace. We worked together in Atlanta multiple years, and he’s a tremendous man and a tremendous teacher."

As a player, Chiti spent his final season pitching in the Orioles organization for Hagerstown in 1981. He began a nine-year stint in 1982 as a minor league pitching coach and roving pitching instructor in the Orioles minor league system. He was with the Rangers from 2002 to 2008, serving as special assistant, director of player personnel and bullpen coach. Before that, Chiti spent 12 years in the Cleveland Indians organization.

"He has a history of working with Buck and Dave, so it’s a natural fit for the team," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. "Beyond that, Dom is a very capable evaluator and he knows what it takes to help pitchers to perform. I think he’ll be a real good addition to the team, and he has the experience and the passion and the know-how.”

Castro said he was contacted Sunday by Duquette and offered a position in the major league scouting department, which he declined because he said he wants to remain a major league coach.

“I like to be with the guys and be on the field teaching,” Castro said.

Castro said he was given the impression by the Orioles that he would have a chance at the pitching coach opening and would be given the chance to return to the bullpen if he didn’t get that job, but he said he didn’t receive an interview for either position.

“I was kind of left up in the air,” Castro said. “It’s a tough business, and I know there aren’t that many jobs in the big leagues, but I just think I should have been told earlier that they were going to go another way.”

Castro, who was still under contract with the club until Oct. 31, said he wished the club would have communicated better and told him he wasn’t going to get either job earlier, so he could seek other major league coaching opportunities. Wallace’s hiring was announced on Oct. 29 and Chiti’s on Monday.

“When I was told I wouldn’t be left hanging, that’s what I thought they were talking about,” Castro said. “They told me I did a good job, and I thought I did a good job as pitching coach and as the bullpen coach.

"I understand that when they bring new people in and those people want their own people. I understand that," Castro added. "But I just think they should have told me earlier, so that way I could make contact [for other jobs] because now I haven’t talked to anybody. I was still under contract, so I didn’t contact anybody.”

Duquette indicated the offer to remain in the organization will remain for the time being.

"That’s understandable," Duquette said of Castro's frustration. "I know Bill did a good job for us and wanted to come back and continue with the major league club, but it didn’t work out that way. We did offer Bill a job in the organization, and I think he’d going to look around with some other clubs. ... We have some time [to fill that position]."

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