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Orioles might hire new assistant hitting coach

Orioles might hire new assistant hitting coach
Orioles' Manny Machado, left, waits out a rain delay with teammates Jonathan Schoop, right, and coach Einar Diaz (middle) in the dugout as the game against the Red Sox at Camden Yards is delayed. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Although all seven members of Orioles manager Buck Showalter's staff will be back for 2016, it looks like the club could hire another big league coach -- potentially one to help current hitting instructor Scott Coolbaugh.

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Friday he has "made progress" on returning every coach, but added that, "we're not quite done with the composition of the staff."

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One possibility, he said, is that the team could hire a new assistant hitting instructor to work with Coolbaugh, who enters his second year as the club's hitting coach.

"That's one of the areas that we are discussing," Duquette said.

Einar Diaz, a former big league catcher, has been the club's assistant hitting coach for the past three years while also handling a chunk of batting practice pitching duties. He is expected to return in 2016, but his title might change. If that happens, Diaz could be used in the bullpen more during games to help catch relievers now that the club did not renew the contract of batting practice pitcher/bullpen catcher Rudy Arias.

One of Diaz's primary responsibilities has been throwing batting practice both pregame and in-game in the stadium's indoor tunnel to help keep potential pinch hitters and designated hitters loose.

Duquette said he doesn't have a timeline to officially complete the makeup of Showalter's group or when an announcement is planned. There has been at least one change to the staff each offseason that Showalter has managed the Orioles, though in this instance the full group would return.

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