BALTIMORE - Nobody disclosed why pitching coach Rick Adair chose to take a leave of absence, but the Baltimore Orioles are moving on without him and making changes to their staff.
Replacing Adair, who cited personal reasons for his departure, is bullpen coach Bill Castro, while former Orioles pitcher Scott McGregor comes up from the minor leagues to fill Castro's role.
Castro 61, has pitching coach experience, having served in that position for Milwaukee in 2009. He spent 17 seasons as the Brewers' bullpen coach and pitched in the majors for parts of 10 seasons.
McGregor, 59, who won 138 games as an Orioles starter from 1976-88, has been a coach in Baltimore's organization for 12 seasons. The Orioles Hall of Famer was working as a rehabilitation consultant in the minors before returning to Baltimore.
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said the pitching staff shouldn't have any problem with Castro as its leader. And he backed Adair's decision.
"When things are personal, I know everybody here knows what that means," Showalter said before Friday's game. "It's not a matter of closing ranks or whatever, it's just we all have some things in our lives we need to take care of that are more important than this."
Adair is in his third year as Baltimore's pitching coach, and has worked for three other big-league organizations in the same capacity. Showalter didn't put a timetable on Adair's return, however.
"Hope so. We'll see. That's up to how it goes," he said. "It's part of life, unfortunately."
Enter Castro, who said he was surprised upon hearing the news.
"I felt uncomfortable in the beginning with the situation. I don't want anything bad to happen to anybody," Castro said. "Rick will be fine, and we'll take care of things around here. Going to keep doing what we've been doing. Nothing is going to change."
Starting pitcher Chris Tillman said he was shocked, like Castro, when he found out. But just as Castro said things won't change, Tillman was already in lockstep with his new pitching coach.
"I think we all know what we need to do and will go about our business the same way we have been," Tillman said.
McGregor's familiarity with the team's pitchers should help ease the transition in the bullpen as well.
"Everybody in here knows him, he's pretty laid back," said reliever Tommy Hunter. "Everybody works well and as long as you communicate, everything is going to go along smoothly."
HE'S MY GUY: Jim Johnson seems to have a hold on his role as the Orioles' closer. At least that's what Showalter was saying before Friday's game.
"I think we have a lot of options, and he's one of them," Showalter said. "We're lucky to have all those options. Different guys have failure. I know the finality of it and I know the questions should and need to be asked, and it's frustrating for Jimmy and me. I'm frustrated for him."
Johnson (3-7, 3.52 ERA) came into the Rockies game with three consecutive blown saves. He had the major-league lead with 39 saves, but he also led the majors with nine blown saves. Still, Johnson said his problem isn't command.
"As a pitcher, you control what you're thinking about until the ball leaves your hand," he said. "After it leaves your hand, it's out of your control. If you do the right things, if you have the right conviction ... I've said that many times. You have to have conviction in your pitches.
"I have three pitches. I don't think it's a question of mixing it up as much. Earlier it was a matter of location. I don't think that's the issue. I've been making pretty good quality pitches and haven't been seeing the results."
INJURY UPDATE: Showalter said rookie pitcher Kevin Gausman is dealing with soreness in his right forearm, and that could delay his return to the Orioles when the rosters expand Sept. 1.
"They may skip him in the rotation just to keep him out of harm's way," Showalter said. "He feels good. He's not happy about not pitching, but just had a little soreness. That's usually how it goes. They don't seem alarmed about it."
Gausman is 0-2 with a 5.20 ERA in six games with Class AAA Norfolk, and that includes 22 strikeouts in 27 2-3 innings.
ROTATION SITUATION: Bud Norris is set to make his regular start Saturday evening against Colorado despite pitching in relief during Wednesday's game in Arizona. Norris took the loss and allowed one hit, one run, and two walks in one-third of an inning, which resulted in a 5-4 loss in 14 innings. But Wednesday was set to be Norris' work day in the bullpen, so his turn doesn't need to be skipped.
Showalter said Scott Feldman is the backup starter in case Norris can't go as planned.