Coaching harvest complete, O's turn to re-tilling farm

October 25, 1994|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Writer

The makeup of the new Orioles coaching staff finally became official yesterday, but the arrival of four new coaches represents just another step in an organizational make-over that is far from over.

Former Orioles Lee May and Al Bumbry were named to new manager Phil Regan's staff along with former major-league managers Steve Boros and Chuck Cottier. They join Elrod Hendricks, who has been in the Orioles' bullpen for the past 18 years, and Mike Flanagan, who was named pitching coach the day after Regan became manager.

There were no surprises. The new staff was assembled last week and most of the names had become public knowledge within 48 hours of Regan's arrival in Baltimore. The announcement was delayed because the Orioles failed in their attempt to lure hitting coach Merv Rettenmund from the San Diego Padres and needed extra time to turn their attention to May.

Now, the front office can turn its attention inward, where the player development side of the operation is soon to experience some significant changes.

No one is saying exactly what will happen, but it is evident the club will increase its emphasis on player development and a minor-league director will be named soon. The new executive could come from inside or outside the organization, and would assume some of the duties handled by departed assistant general manager Doug Melvin.

Fired coach Don Buford also will be given a job in the organization, though his administrative duties have yet to be defined.

Several club officials confirmed that the player development system will be restructured within two weeks, something that owner Peter Angelos promised to do soon after he took control of the team last October. Angelos also confirmed the coming changes, but would not be specific.

"We're not criticizing anyone in the department," Angelos said, "but aside from the makeup of the major-league team in 1995, the player development system is the No. 1 priority for this organization. Our goal is to make it even more aggressive and more proficient. We want to take steps to make it top of the line.

"We also intend to make the financial commitment to bring it to that level."

The realignment may alter the job descriptions of several members of the current player development staff, including scouting director Gary Nickels and assistant scouting director Fred Uhlman Jr.

The club already has a decidedly different look than it had when the players strike brought the season to a premature end Aug. 12. Regan was the surprise choice to be manager, but he did not surprise anyone with his selection of coaches.

Boros, 58, managed the Oakland Athletics in 1983 and '84 and the San Diego Padres in 1986 before joining Regan on the scouting staff of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cottier, 58, was the Seattle Mariners manager from 1984 to '86, the same period that Regan was the Seattle pitching coach.

May, 51, and Boros come directly from the staff of Kansas City Royals manager Hal McRae, who was fired soon after it became apparent that the season would not be resumed. May apparently was the Orioles' second choice to become hitting coach, but his credentials -- and the credibility that comes with being an accomplished major-league hitter -- made him an easy alternative when the club failed to persuade Rettenmund to come back to Baltimore.

May got a quick endorsement from former teammate Hendricks, who could not be happier that one of his closest friends (and the godfather of one of his sons) will be joining him on the new staff.

"I'm elated," Hendricks said. "He's someone who has been successful as a coach and someone who will have a good rapport with the kids as well as the veterans."

The Orioles hope that is the case with all of the new additions. The club had a relatively youthful staff last year. The new staff is far more experienced.

THE STAFF

Position .. .. .. .. Coach

Bullpen ... .. .. .. Elrod Hendricks

Hitting ... .. .. .. Lee May

Pitching .. .. .. .. Mike Flanagan

First base ... .. .. Al Bumbry

Third base ... .. .. Chuck Cottier

Bench .. .. .. .. .. Steve Boros

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