With the additions of Davey Lopes, Greg Biagini and Dick Bosman, the Baltimore Orioles officially completed their coaching staff yesterday.
Manager John Oates said he was "more than satisfied" with the hirings: "I'm tickled to death. We've got some veterans, a young guy who has paid his dues [Biagini] and a very energetic mixture, hard-working and versatile."
The three join Cal Ripken Sr., the third-base coach, and Elrod Hendricks, the bullpen coach. Both are longtime Orioles fixtures.
"I only want five coaches," said Oates, dismissing speculation that the staff might include six. "With the well-rounded staff we have, we can do it with that many."
The biggest name is Lopes, dismissed by the Texas Rangers after the regular season in what he called "a parting of the ways. The less said about that, the better."
Oates' first choice, Lopes will replace Curt Motton as the first-base coach and also tutor the team's outfielders and infielders.
But his primary job will be to improve the base-running and base-stealing ability of a team that was last in the American League with 50 steals and was generally lethargic on the bases.
"Most major-league teams don't put enough emphasis on base-running until things start to happen unfavorably," said Lopes, 45. "But it's an integral part of the game."
Oates and Lopes were together three seasons as players with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Oates was a coach when Lopes played for the Chicago Cubs.
"I'm gung-ho about the situation and deeply appreciative to Johnny," said Lopes. "This is an organization deep in tradition, and I'm looking forward to working there."
Lopes said he realizes the Orioles don't have a lot of speed, but he wants to concentrate on "the overall base-running of the whole team, going from first to third and second to home."
"We have to cut down on poor judgments and a lack of aggressiveness. That can cause you to lose games," he said.
As a player, Lopes succeeded on 83 percent of his steal attempts, one of the highest rates ever, and had 557 stolen bases, 12th in history.
Lopes had 25 steals, a major-league record for players 40 and older, in 1986. The Orioles leader last year, Mike Devereaux, had 16.
Biagini, 39, will be the junior member of the group after nine years of managerial training within the organization, including an International League title in 1990.
When Biagini was interviewed, Tom McCraw (who took a position with the New York Mets) was still the hitting coach, and the talk was of general duties. But McCraw's departure opened the batting instructor's job for him.
Biagini is familiar with the young batters who have risen through the system: Leo Gomez, Chito Martinez, David Segui, Chris Hoiles, Brady Anderson and Bill Ripken.
"He had a lot of success with them," said Oates. "Definitely, that was a big thing going for him. He came through the interviews with flying colors."
Biagini said: "I'm elated. It's been a long nine years down there."
Bosman, 47, replaces Al Jackson as the pitching coach after four years in the organization, the last three at Class AAA Rochester, where he worked with a number of current Orioles, including Mike Mussina, Ben McDonald, Todd Frohwirth, Jim Poole and Jose Mesa.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to work with these kids again," he said.
Bosman views the starting rotation as the obvious area in need of upgrading, with only Bob Milacki and Mussina apparently assured of spots going into next season.
"We've got to get those people effective enough to stay in games," he said. "And we have to keep Ben healthy."