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You never know where former Orioles will turn up and when amusing anecdotes can be dusted off because of it. I mention this after hearing that Richie Lewis has been hired as pitching coach at Single-A Columbus of the Dodgers' organization.

You're not a true fan unless you remember "Hell Cat." He appeared in four games for the Orioles -- two in 1992 and two in 1998. He was blond, short, stocky and enough of a screwball that he should have been a lefty.

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Mike Flanagan was the pitching coach in '98 when Lewis made his first start on June 1 against the Seattle Mariners at Camden Yards. Lewis allowed seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, including a three-run shot by David Segui and a bases-empty blast by Edgar Martinez.

At one point, Flanagan visited the mound and noted how Lewis was leaving the ball up and over the plate. Lewis looked at Flanagan and said, "Dude, that's the way I pitch." Flanagan shook his head and returned to the dugout. Manager Ray Miller asked what Lewis had said. Knowing how Miller would react, Flanagan replied, "I'll tell you later."

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Trust me, it's even funnier when Flanny retells the story. I wanted to run it past him today, but he's traveling and won't return to the warehouse until later this afternoon.

Lewis gave up another run during a June 4 relief appearance in Boston that left his ERA at 15.43. The Orioles designated him for assignment five days later, and he never pitched again.

The Montreal Expos drafted Lewis in 1987 before trading him to the Orioles on Aug. 24, 1991, for pitcher Chris Myers. The Florida Marlins selected him in the next year's expansion draft. I only mention this because Monica Pence of the Orioles' public relations department went to the trouble of looking it up for me.

While we're talking about pitchers, The Denver Post reported today that the Orioles signed reliever Jim Brower to a minor league contract. The Orioles haven't confirmed it, but Brower's agent did. Brower will be reunited with pitching coach Leo Mazzone, at least in spring training. And with Jorge Julio gone, there's room for another right-hander in the bullpen.

The San Francisco Giants released Brower, 33, before he latched on with the Braves and posted a 4.20 ERA in 37 games.

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