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New coaching combo of Roger McDowell and Alan Mills allows Orioles to maintain continuity

Though only one of them comes out of the Orioles' minor league system, the hiring of Roger McDowell as the club's new pitching coach and Alan Mills as bullpen coach has the feel of an entirely internal transition.

McDowell, who ended his playing career with a season in Baltimore in 1996, hasn't been here since. But his long association with newly departed O's pitching coach Dave Wallace appears to guarantee he will cause no culture shock for the Orioles' pitching staff.

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He was a solid major league reliever and had success during a lengthy coaching tenure with the Atlanta Braves. He's also well acquainted with his new bullpen coach, since he and Mills were teammates on the 1996 club that reached the American League Championship Seiries.

Mills has spent the past two seasons as the Bowie Baysox pitching coach. He has been getting regular praise from Orioles manager Buck Showalter for his role in developing Dylan Bundy, Mychal Givens and Donnie Hart.

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He was a favorite of local fans during an Orioles career that spanned parts of eight seasons, both for his solid numbers and for his hard-nosed attitude. He won 10 games and had a 2.61 ERA (mostly in middle and setup relief) in his first season with the O's in 1992.

McDowell had been rumored to be the top candidate to replace Wallace from the start of the search, and obviously received an endorsement from the man he will succeed.

If his lengthy stay in Atlanta is any indication, he could bring some stability to a job that has seen a lot of turnover during the past decade. Wallace left on good terms because he felt he needed to spend more time at home.

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