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Orioles have 'three or four' good candidates for hitting coach, Buck Showalter says

Orioles manager Buck Showalter.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter. (Ed Zurga, Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO — Orioles manager Buck Showalter has made it clear he wants to take his time to fill the club's hitting coach vacancy to ensure the right candidate gets the job, but he said Tuesday that the team is getting closer to making a hire.

"We've got three or four really good candidates," Showalter said during his media session at the winter meetings Tuesday. "We're sifting through some, making sure we're taking everybody into consideration.

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"Like I said before, we're not going to get caught into some false deadline, so when it happens, it happens. We're going to get a good one. We're taking a lot of input from our coaches, our other five coaches, a little bit from everybody."

The Orioles are still conducting interviews to replace Jim Presley. The job received tremendous interest, so it was a challenge to evaluate all the candidates. The Orioles came to San Diego with plans to meet some possible candidates.

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The team was interested in Texas Rangers minor league hitting instructor Scott Coolbaugh, but they weren't given permission to interview him, according to a source.

The position is an important one because of the dedication it involves. The Orioles have reached out to several possible candidates -- including Charlie Manuel, Raul Ibanez and Jim Thome -- but they all turned the job down because of the time commitment it demands.

Showalter said he wants to make sure he gets the right fit.

"The hitting coach for us, sometimes that's different from a hitting coach from some of those other teams you mentioned," Showalter said. "Every situation calls for a little different ... I'm not looking for a guy with a big shtick, you know a bunch of crazy mechanics. I'm just looking for a dependable, solid guy who is sincere, that our players can count on, and fits into everybody's strength and weaknesses."

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Showalter said minor league hitting instructor Jeff Manto, the only internal candidate to be interviewed, remains a strong possibility.

Manto, who previously served as hitting coach for the Chicago White Sox, has major league experience and already knows the organization well. Manto also has received praise within the organization for working with prospects Christian Walker and Dariel Alvarez this season.

"I'm always going to look from within before I look somewhere else," Showalter said. "That's why we interviewed Jeff Manto. [Major League experience is] not a prerequisite. That stuff lasts about two weeks, and then they want to know how you're going to help them be a good player, and how you're going to help them win."

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