Larry McCall was preparing for his usual duties as pitching coach at Triple-A Ottawa on Wednesday when Dave Stockstill, director of minor league operations, told him that some changes were in store.
Stockstill noted how two of McCall's pitchers had surrendered critical home runs. The news seemed bleak. But Stockstill just wanted to have some fun with McCall before telling him that the Orioles were promoting him to bullpen coach after 17 years in the organization.
"I'm just happy to be here," said McCall, who replaces Rick Dempsey in the bullpen as part of Wednesday's shake-up. Dempsey takes over for first base coach Dave Cash, who has been reassigned.
"It feels good. I've had a lot of pitchers in this organization. I was here with Cal Ripken Sr. and Johnny Oates my first year, and Cal put me in charge of all the pitchers. Curt Schilling, Jamie Moyer was here, Ben McDonald, all those guys. I've been in this organization a long time. I played with Mike Flanagan and Dennis Martinez."
McCall has worked with young relievers Chris Ray, Sendy Rleal, Chris Britton and Kurt Birkins in the minors.
"Maybe I can help them a little bit in the bullpen, but I'm really here to help Leo [Mazzone]," he said.
McCall also worked with Adam Loewen in the Arizona Fall League, when the left-hander posted the lowest ERA.
"I'll do anything it takes to help the team win," McCall said.
Dave Schmidt will move up from short-season Single-A Aberdeen to Ottawa as McCall's replacement.
Infielder Chris Gomez has been swinging a fungo bat since Tuesday to test his left hand, which he broke May 10. He'll continue the drill for a week, then spend another week hitting off a tee.
"That will put me at six weeks and I'll be able to do all baseball stuff, ground balls, hitting off pitching," he said.
Asked if he will be ready to come off the 60-day disabled list when eligible, Gomez said, "No doubt."
Around the horn
Manager Sam Perlozzo said he's unsure whether Jay Gibbons will be ready to come off the disabled list Sunday, "but I'd think he's going to be very, very close." Perlozzo might stay with 13 pitchers after Gibbons returns until the interleague series against the New York Mets that begins June 16, when he'd want an extra hitter. ... Perlozzo's son, Eric, a middle infielder at Shippensburg University, wasn't selected in this week's draft. Eric has another year of college eligibility remaining and could return to school if a team doesn't sign him. "He does a couple things that I thought were plenty good enough for the minor leagues," Sam Perlozzo said. "And I know what kind of character and work ethic he has."