I’ve emerged from my food coma, though I sense that another one is on the way. These weekends in Ocean Pines don’t come without certain risks.
The Sun is reporting that former Pirates manager John Russell interviewed with Buck Showalter yesterday. He could fill the role of bench or third base coach, and he’s a former catcher.
It’s another name to toss into the pile.
Gary Allenson would have to consider that managing job at Triple-A Norfolk if Russell is hired, because the Orioles don’t need two catching instructors. Somebody has to work with the infielders.
Where’s Chris Gomez when you need him.
Showalter is flying back to Texas today. There’s your latest update.
The bullpen isn’t the No. 1 priority this winter, but it’s still an area that will be addressed. Some things never change.
We can assume that, barring a trade, Michael Gonzalez, Jim Johnson, David Hernandez and Jason Berken will be part of it. Matt Albers is a non-tender candidate, but how many times have we suggested that his roster spot is in jeopardy?
The Orioles would like to re-sign Koji Uehara, but it depends on the market and how much he could command in money and years, and whether he’d be willing to accept a contract heavy in incentives. You’d be hard-pressed to find a player in baseball whose stock rose higher over the second half of the season.
Rick VandenHurk also has to enter the bullpen discussion because he’s out of minor league options, and there might not be a spot for him in the rotation.
If the Orioles don’t re-sign Mark Hendrickson, and I’m putting the odds of him returning at less than 50-50, Troy Patton would be a consideration as a left-handed long and middle man. The Orioles would need a situational lefty if Gonzalez ends up closing.
We shouldn’t forget about Alfredo Simon. He disappeared on us, but he’s still in the mix.
We could debate again whether one of the young starters should work out of the bullpen if he doesn’t make the rotation.
The Orioles put Jim Hoey on the 40-man roster, and while I wouldn’t expect him to make the team out of spring training, he’s certainly on the radar.
Hoey would have been a minor league free agent, “and there was some sentiment among the player development people that he made significant strides this year,” president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said earlier this week. “He’s always had the arm strength and he’s starting to develop his secondary pitches.”
Double-A Bowie pitching coach Kennie Steenstra noted the importance of Hoey being healthy again. Hoey missed the 2008 season and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder.
“He came back and showed good arm strength again, and he started to show a better feel before he left for Norfolk. He began being more of the Jim Hoey that I saw in the past,” Steenstra said.
“We started working on a split-finger pitch with him, probably around the end of May, somewhere around there. It’s a pitch he had thrown in the past. When you start having arm problems, it was a pitch that hurt for him to throw. Now that he’s fully healthy again, he was able to pick it back up and he made improvements.
“His slider continues to be a work in progress. It didn’t get to the point where we thought it would be, but he’s working on it. And (Norfolk pitching coach) Mike Griffin began to work on a two-seamer with him. The problem was, his past fastball was very straight, and though he’d throw it hard, guys catch up to it and put it in play.”