Now that the Orioles have hired Dave Wallace as their pitching coach, the focus turns to naming a bullpen coach.
That search hasn’t officially started yet, according to an industry source, but it will begin within the next few days.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday that Wallace, who has a decade of major league pitching coach experience and was the Atlanta Braves' minor league pitching coordinator for the past four seasons, will have plenty of input in selecting a bullpen coach and will probably make the final call.
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Showalter said he will present the in-house candidates to Wallace and allow him to evaluate them. Those internal candidates likely will include Bill Castro, the Orioles bullpen coach who took over as pitching coach for Rick Adair in August, and Scott McGregor, who filled in as bullpen coach after that.
If Wallace has his choice, one would think he'd like to pick his own guy, especially considering that Showalter likes for the manager, pitching coach and bullpen coach to work closely together.
To call Castro an internal candidate might actually be misleading. His contract with the Orioles expires at midnight tonight.
Today, Castro is still with the Orioles, and said he’s like to return as bullpen coach.
“If it’s available, yeah, I’d like to go back to that,” Castro said.
Castro, hired before the 2012 season to be the team’s bullpen coach, took over as pitching coach in August when Adair took an abrupt leave of absence. A former pitching coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, Castro was an internal candidate for the Orioles pitching coach vacancy, but the organization seemed pleased with its qualified group of external candidates that included Wallace.
Castro can speak with other teams about coaching positions beginning tomorrow. The Orioles will also be able to contact coaches from around the league whose contracts expire at the end of the month.
Castro, who spent most of his 18 years with the Brewers as bullpen coach, previously has been in this situation. In 2002, he took over as pitching coach during the season when Dave Stewart resigned. He went back to the bullpen the next season and stayed until he became pitching coach in 2009.
“It’s a little uncomfortable because you don’t know what the future holds, but I’ll just wait and see what’s going to happen,” Castro said. “That’s baseball though. I’ve been through that before where somebody else got hired and I stayed in the bullpen. For me, I don’t have any ego for that. I do whatever the club wants me to do to help the team.”
Also, the Orioles announced Thursday that they have outrighted outfielder Chris Dickerson and infielder Dan Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk.
The move clears additional 40-man roster space that the Orioles can use for offseason acquisitions and to protect minor leaguers for the Rule 5 draft in December.
Dickerson and Johnson can refuse the outright assignment to the minor leagues, which they will likely do.