Presley hired as hitting coach, Adair as bullpen coach

Presley spent past five seasons as Marlins' hitting coach; O's still have four slots left to fill

October 29, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

The Orioles' 2011 coaching staff is coming into focus with the hiring of hitting coach Jim Presley and bullpen coach Rick Adair, the first of six slots to be filled by manager Buck Showalter.

The club isn't expected to officially announce its hires until the entire coaching staff is finalized, but an industry source said Presley and Adair both have agreed to two-year deals. The source said the Orioles could have the full staff completed within the next week.

Don Wakamatsu (bench coach) and Mark Connor (pitching coach) are leading candidates to join Showalter, though discussions concerning those positions are ongoing.

Showalter also needs to add coaches for first base and third base, jobs that will include additional responsibilities of infield, outfield and base-running instruction. One of those coaches likely will be a fluent Spanish speaker.

It's becoming increasingly likely that Showalter will have an entirely new staff in 2011. Presley is replacing longtime hitting coach Terry Crowley, who has accepted an offensive evaluator position within the organization. Adair will replace Alan Dunn, who has been offered a position working with the organization's minor league pitchers.

Presley, 49, is reuniting with Showalter, who gave him his first big league hitting coach job in 1998 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Presley most recently spent the past five seasons with the Florida Marlins before being fired in June along with manager Fredi Gonzalez.

This month, Gonzalez accepted the Atlanta Braves' managerial job. Presley was considered a top candidate to be his hitting coach before the Braves hired Larry Parrish on Friday.

Presley was traveling out of the country Friday and could not be reached for comment about the Orioles position.

Adair, 52, has spent seven years as a major league pitching coach, including the past two with the Seattle Mariners. He was fired in August along with Wakamatsu, then the Mariners' manager. Adair declined to comment until the Orioles make an official announcement about their coaching positions.

Showalter would neither confirm nor deny either hiring.

Because of his previous ties to Showalter, Presley had long been considered a candidate for the Orioles' hitting coach job along with former Orioles and New York Yankees coach Rick Down and another former colleague of Showalter's, Mike Barnett, once the Triple-A hitting coach in the Diamondbacks' organization.

A corner infielder who played six of his eight big league seasons with Seattle, Presley was a fourth-round pick of the Mariners' in 1979. An All-Star in 1986, he had three consecutive seasons in which he had at least 24 homers and 84 RBIs. His last season playing in the majors was in 1991 with the San Diego Padres; he made it back to the big leagues in 1998 as the Diamondbacks' first hitting coach.

In his four full seasons with Florida, the Marlins ranked third in the National League in slugging percentage and fourth in homers. While there, he worked with up-and-coming stars Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla, among others.

He'll be taking over an offense that finished 13th of 14 American League teams in runs, scoring just 613 — the Orioles' fewest since 1988. Still, Pressley has big shoes to fill in replacing Crowley, the former Oriole who has been the hitting coach since the 1999 season.

"The Crow knows hitting better than anyone I've ever seen," said Luke Scott, the 2010 Most Valuable Oriole. "He has helped me out tremendously in my career, and the fact he is still with the organization is comforting — very comforting actually. He is going to be very much missed."

It will be a change for the club's established hitters, but they'll be getting another coach with a reputation of working hard for his players.

"As far as Jim Presley is concerned, I've met him, just on the field. I really don't know how he teaches," Scott said. "But I know that Marlins' team always swings the bat well. … He's gotten results with the Marlins, and we'll see what happens."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

twitter.com/danconnollysun

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