O's hire Bernhardt to complete staff Dominican scout gets big-league merit badge

January 14, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

More than two months after his hiring, Orioles manager Ray Miller officially completed his six-man coaching staff yesterday with the promotion of longtime Dominican scouting supervisor Carlos Bernhardt.

Bernhardt joins a staff of pitching coach Mike Flanagan, third base coach Sam Perlozzo, hitting coach Rick Down, bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks and Eddie Murray. The responsibilities of Murray and Bernhardt remain unclear, though Miller said last night that he intends to start Bernhardt as first base coach in spring training.

More important to Miller is his coaches' ability to maintain a rapport with a veteran clubhouse while also pushing it.

"That's the big thing -- communication. Players play," said Miller, who is tentatively projecting an Opening Day roster including 12 pitchers. "My strength as pitching coach was more about keeping talented players focused on pitching. That's the strength of this coaching staff. To me, focus is the main thing. I think there's a misconception that this is a veteran ballclub. Don't push them in spring training and they'll be around. I disagree. They need to be pushed. We've got to play ourselves into shape."

Former first base coach John Stearns and bench coach Andy Etchebarren were not retained by Miller. Stearns will serve as a roving minor-league instructor while Etchebarren will manage the Orioles' Rookie League club at Bluefield, W. Va. Because Stearns and Etchebarren were offered major-league contracts before the resignation of former manager Davey Johnson, the club will pay eight coaches major-league salaries.

Bernhardt, 47, has served as scout and instructor for 13 years with the Orioles. A native of San Pedro de Macoris, Bernhardt has signed more than 200 players there, among them Orioles reliever Armando Benitez along with ex-Orioles Manny Alexander, Luis Mercedes and Francisco de la Rosa.

Like Down and Perlozzo, Bernhardt possesses managerial experience. He has managed the Orioles' summer and winter league teams in the Dominican Republic and also served as pitching coach for Estrellas in the Dominican Winter League.

A popular fixture within the organization, especially with Benitez LTC and second baseman Roberto Alomar, Bernhardt has spent parts of the past several summers in an unofficial coaching role with the Orioles.

Bernhardt's hiring was anticipated after the Nov. 11 naming of Miller as manager but was delayed while contract, pension and insurance matters were addressed. His inclusion on the staff was never an issue.

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O's 1998 coaches

Position .. .. .. .. .. ..Name

Manager .. .. .. ...Ray Miller

First base .Carlos Bernhardt*

Third base .. .. .Sam Perlozzo

Pitching .. .. ..Mike Flanagan

Hitting .. .. .. .. .Rick Down

Bullpen .. .. .Elrod Hendricks

Coach .. .. .. ...Eddie Murray

*-Spring training trial basis

Pub Date: 1/14/98

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