Orioles interview John Russell for coaching vacancy

Former Pirates manager could fit as bench or third base coach

November 12, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

Orioles manager Buck Showalter interviewed former Pittsburgh Pirates manager John Russell on Friday for one of two vacant positions on his coaching staff, according to two industry sources.

Russell, 49, could fit as Showalter's bench coach or third base coach, a position Russell held with the Pirates from 2003 to 2005 under then-manager Lloyd McClendon. Russell rejoined the Pirates in 2008 and served three seasons as manager before being fired at the end of this past season.

He compiled a 186-299 record (.384 winning percentage) while at the helm of the Pirates.

Russell was a first-round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1982 and played parts of 10 seasons in the majors, five with the Phillies, one with the Atlanta Braves and the final four with the Texas Rangers.

He played 209 of his 448 major league games at catcher, with the highlight coming in 1990, when he caught Nolan Ryan's sixth no-hitter. Russell also played some outfield and corner infield as a pro.

After his playing career, Russell managed in the Minnesota Twins' and Phillies' organizations, earning the 2006 International League Manager of the Year Award with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Russell is a potential fit because Showalter is looking for a catching instructor who can serve on the bench or at third base. He would like to have a former manager as bench coach but said that is not imperative. He does, however, want a third base coach who has major league experience at that spot.

If Russell is hired, then Gary Allenson, who was the Orioles' third base coach for the season's final four months, likely would return to manage Triple-A Norfolk. Allenson is also a catching instructor.

That would leave the Orioles looking for an infield coach at either bench or third base. Possibilities include former New York Mets manager Willie Randolph and former Oriole Mike Bordick.

The Orioles have hired four other coaches: Jim Presley (hitting), Mark Connor (pitching), Rick Adair (bullpen) and Wayne Kirby (first base/outfield).

There is no timetable on when the other two will be hired or when the entire staff will be announced.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

twitter.com/danconnollysun

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