Dick Bosman plans to be a hands-on pitching coach with the Baltimore Orioles . . . starting immediately.
As he begins to address one of the sixth-place team's biggest deficiencies last season -- lack of quality performances from the starting staff -- Bosman said yesterday that he would go to Puerto Rico in December to work with prospect Arthur Rhodes and that he also hoped to visit Ben McDonald in Louisiana for some up-close-and-personal treatment.
Bosman, who replaced Al Jackson in the position last week, has started refining the pickoff move of closer Gregg Olson, who spent a week with the Orioles' Florida Instructional League team in Sarasota.
"I don't think I'll see them all [pitchers] before we go to spring training," said Bosman. "I'm not going to travel to everybody's hometown. But I want to see what I can do about everybody showing up in the best possible shape."
Bosman, first-base and base-running coach Davey Lopes and hitting coach Greg Biagini were formally introduced to the local media yesterday at Memorial Stadium.
Bosman and Biagini were promoted from the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings, and Lopes, a longtime associate of manager John Oates, is joining the organization after being dismissed as a coach by the Texas Rangers.
McDonald has begun the past two years on the disabled list with an injury to a rib muscle and to his elbow, and Bosman wants to have him healthy in April this time.
"If the best way to assure ourselves that he's ready is to go down there, and if that's what John and Roland [Hemond, general manager] want, that's what I should do," said Bosman. "Sometimes, guys get hurt and it's unavoidable, but we want to make sure that he is at least decreasing the odds of injury."
McDonald finished with a 6-8 record, a 4.84 ERA and only 126 1/3 innings this season after some soreness in his shoulder completed his work in mid-September.
As for Rhodes, Bosman said he and Instructional League pitching coach Tom Brown have been tackling "three simple mechanical things" in Florida but that he "needs more time. We're optimistic."
Olson has adapted well to the slide step that Bosman taught Dave Johnson, one of the toughest pitchers in baseball against the steal.
"We had a very productive week," said Bosman. "He may not look like it sometimes, but Otter is a good athlete. He'll adjust to it and do it."
From Thanksgiving forward, Bosman wants the young pitchers diligently working, so that when they report in February "they are ready to do drills, throw batting practice and pitch a ballgame in eight to 10 days."
He favors a five-man starting rotation for two reasons: Arms bounce back better and he has another day of teaching available.
"You can't give me enough reasons to go five with a young staff," he said. The Orioles have concluded their fall organizational meetings with no major decisions being announced. Hemond will take the information to the major-league general managers' meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., Sunday.
"We're in the beginning of the process of assessing free agents, possible trades and our farm system," said president Larry Lucchino. "That's about all I'm able to say except that we're not going to wait too long to make some decisions."
Camden Yards update
The sod will be laid next week on the field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The grass has been growing at Oakwood Farm in Salisbury, the property of Gary and Alan Wilber.
Ripken clinic planned
The Ripkens, Cal Sr., Cal Jr. and Bill, will hold a four-hour clinic Nov. 9 at Aberdeen High School to benefit the Harford County Boys and Girls Clubs. Starting time is 9:30 a.m. Call 272-8233.