The Orioles shuffled their coaching staff yesterday, reassigning first base coach Dave Cash, moving Rick Dempsey from the bullpen to replace him and promoting Triple-A pitching coach Larry McCall to be bullpen coach.
"It's not something they didn't do," said executive vice president Mike Flanagan. "We just felt with some mixing and some shuffling, we could have a more efficient staff."
Flanagan said the team was looking for another pitching expert to work in the bullpen. McCall has taught the craft for 17 years at various levels of the organization, most recently at Triple-A Ottawa.
"He's had a lot of players who were here in the minors along the way," Flanagan said. "He just has more of a pitching background I would say. ... This may be a little bit overdue."
The removal of the popular Cash from the major league coaching staff took players by surprise. The longtime big league second baseman joined the Orioles' staff last August. He's in his 10th year with the organization.
"It absolutely has nothing to do with David," said manager Sam Perlozzo. "He's a great man, a great baseball guy. You know we're constantly in a mode to find the right combination, get things the way we want them."
Players said they were aware of no problems with Cash, who worked closely with the team's infielders. "It caught me totally off guard," said second baseman Brian Roberts.
The Orioles haven't decided where Cash will go. Flanagan said the club would give him a few weeks to think about it but noted that several short-season teams will begin play soon.
With the death of bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks and Cash's reassignment, the Orioles are left without a black coach on the staff. Flanagan said team officials didn't consider that. "We just go for the best people we can get."
Dempsey, a popular Orioles figure since his catching days, said he was surprised by the moves. "I like Davey," he said. "I thought he was a pretty good coach. It is disappointing, but it's their decision. I enjoyed working in the bullpen with these young guys. It was the first time as a coach that I had so many guys actually want to talk about baseball."
Said vice president Jim Duquette: "Obviously, Demper has experience at first base and has done a good job there in the past."
Draft Day 2
The Orioles completed their amateur draft yesterday with 32 picks, most of them "draft-and-follow" players.
That means the club won't try to sign them now but will watch their coming amateur seasons and decide whether to offer contracts next May.
In a strange coincidence, the Orioles drafted Cash's son, Dave Cash III, in the 40th round yesterday. The younger Cash, an infielder from the University of Florida, worked out for the Orioles last week.
The Orioles also drafted Catonsville High School left-hander Neal Davis in the 39th round. Davis was a first-team All-Metro selection by The Sun.
When asked if the club considered picking famed Orioles obstructionist Jeffery Maier out of Wesleyan, scouting director Joe Jordan paused, laughed and said, "No." email@example.com