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Kranitz heads to Houston

Rick Kranitz, who had spent the previous three seasons as the Orioles' pitching coach, was named the Houston Astros' minor league pitching coordinator today.

Kranitz wanted to remain on a big league staff, but it became clear that Mark Connor was Buck Showalter's top choice to be the Orioles' pitching coach. Kranitz was also discussed as a potential fit with the New York Yankees and his old boss, Joe Girardi.

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Kranitz is a close friend of Astros manager Brad Mills, who didn't have any vacancies on his big league staff but wanted to bring Kranitz into the organization.

"Rick adds a wealth of knowledge and experience to our development system," Astros director of player development Fred Nelson in a team news release. "He has a reputation for developing young pitchers and the understanding of what it takes to pitch in the major leagues. We are fortunate to have someone of Rick's caliber join our organization."

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The Orioles haven't officially announced Connor as their new pitching coach, but it's not exactly a secret that's the direction this is headed.

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