Etchebarren is heading back to Bluefield O's coach compiled 132-69 record there

January 13, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

As Orioles manager Ray Miller waits for longtime Dominican scout Carlos Bernhardt to be added to his staff, the club's former bench coach has resurfaced in the lower level of the minor-league system.

Andy Etchebarren has been appointed manager at Bluefield, the Orioles' rookie-league team in the Appalachian League. It's the same position he held for three seasons before joining former Orioles manager Davey Johnson's staff two years ago.

Etchebarren and first base coach John Stearns weren't retained by Miller, who was named manager after Johnson's resignation. Miller said either Bernhardt or Eddie Murray will replace Stearns, with the decision coming in spring training, and that he's eliminating the title of bench coach and seeking input from all sources.

"It's a conglomeration of good Oriole people and the person that I need an answer from will be sitting within 10 feet of me," Miller said yesterday from his Ohio home.

Bernhardt's hiring remains on hold while some details concerning his pension are ironed out. "I was told they're going to get it worked out, but I haven't heard any more back. I know he's going to be there, though," Miller said.

Etchebarren, 54, who was in California yesterday and unavailable for comment, compiled a 132-69 record in his first stint with Bluefield. The 1995 club went 49-16, winning the Northern Division by 17 games.

"Etch had a tremendous rapport with those young players," said farm director Syd Thrift. "He really motivated and inspired, and he's had great success. I'm glad he decided to go back there.

"Even while he was in the major leagues here, he was constantly asking me about the Bluefield team. He had a great understanding about what rookie-league baseball is all about."

Thrift said Etchebarren, a former Orioles catcher, was given the choice of managing Bluefield or the Gulf Coast League rookie team in Sarasota, which again will be under the direction of Butch Davis. "I told him I'd prefer he go to Bluefield because he's done well there," Thrift said.

Etchebarren replaces Bobby Dickerson, who won two Appalachian League titles in his two seasons at Bluefield before joining the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks as minor-league defensive coordinator. Dickerson would have been promoted to manager at Single-A Frederick if he hadn't left the organization.

Pub Date: 1/13/98

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