Former Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair, who took a leave of absence in August for personal reasons and will not return to the club next season, said he's not sure whether he'll be in baseball in 2014.
"I'm not looking, I'll put it to you that way," Adair said in his first public comments since leaving the team. "But if something happens, I would talk [to a potential team]. But I'm not going out looking for a job."
The Orioles announced Friday that Adair, who had one year remaining on his contract, would not be returning. No specifics were given.
"I'm not going to get deep into [the reasons], but Rick was a very knowledgeable pitching guy. He is very sharp," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Somebody will be lucky to have him."
Showalter supported Adair when the veteran coach decided to take a leave during the season to handle personal issues, including the terminal illness of his father, who died in September.
"My dad and I had not been close," Adair said. "And so to spend the last four weeks with him and get everything in order, to get things right and spend time with him, I wouldn't trade it for anything — anything — in baseball. It meant that much to me."
As for not coming back, Adair said: "Who decided and all that kind of stuff, we don't need to talk about that. But I feel real good about what has been done there, the working relationship with Buck and how that's been, and with the coaching staff. So I am going to miss it. There is no doubt. But it was a decision that was made, and I feel good about the decision."
The Orioles have whittled down their list of potential successors and will begin interviewing next week. Candidates who are expected to interview include former Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee, who is scheduled for Tuesday;, current Seattle Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis; Texas Rangers bullpen coach Andy Hawkins; and Atlanta Braves minor league pitching coordinator Dave Wallace.
Only Hawkins doesn't have extensive experience as a big league pitching coach. He he has spent five seasons in charge of the Rangers' bullpen, and served as the club's interim pitching coach in 2008.
"I look at it as an opportunity to get a good pitching coach, and there are some out there that I'm real excited that we might get," Showalter said. "I wish Rick well. He made contributions to our team and he will land on his feet. I'm very appreciative of his friendship and his contributions."
The Orioles will first interview candidates from outside the organization, Showalter said, but there are also internal options, including Bill Castro, who served as pitching coach when Adair left the club in August; Scott McGregor, who took over as bullpen coach when Castro was promoted; and Triple-A Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin, among others.
"We will consider Billy and McGregor and Griff," Showalter said. "And we'll end up with a good one."
The club would like to name a pitching coach within the next few weeks. That person likely will then help with the hiring of a bullpen coach.
Adair, 55, who has spent 34 years in pro baseball, said part of him feels like the job was left incomplete. But he also believes his successor will be stepping into a good situation.
"People can think what they want, but you put your heart and soul into something for almost three years, and it [turns out to be] better," Adair said. "So I feel real good about where the Orioles are and the things that have been done there. Trust me, I'll be pulling for those guys."
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