In a shocking development, the Orioles have announced that pitching coach Mark Connor resigned for “personal reasons.”
Connor was in his first season as pitching coach, having replaced Rick Kranitz over the winter.
Bullpen coach Rick Adair has been named pitching coach. Former hitting coach Terry Crowley replaces Adair on an interim basis.
Connor, 61, was in his 36th season in professional baseball after serving the last two years as a special assistant in the player development department of the Texas Rangers. He’s apparently been dealing with physical issues that he couldn’t overcome. They’re not overly serious, I’m told, but the workload was taking a toll on him.
Adair, 53, joined the Orioles’ staff this season after working the past two seasons as pitching coach with the Seattle Mariners. He oversaw the turnaround of the Mariners’ staff from a 4.73 ERA in 2008 (11th in the AL) to a league-best 3.87 ERA in 2009.
Adair has spent over seven full seasons as a major league pitching coach - two with Seattle (2009-10), two with Cleveland (1992-93) and three with Detroit (Sept. 1996-99).
The Orioles didn’t know that Connor intended to resign until yesterday, which had them scrambling for a replacement for Adair as he moved into the role of pitching coach.
“We’ve been fortunate in that we felt like we had dual pitching coaches from the get-go,” said president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. “Both have extensive backgrounds in that area, and Rick is familiar with our young pitchers. We’re sorry to lose Mark, but fortunate that we have someone like Rick available to us.”
The Orioles might have returned minor league pitching coordinator Alan Dunn to his former role as bullpen coach, but he resigned to take a job as LSU’s pitching coach. Crowley is a temporary replacement.
“We’ll see how Crow feels, but we had to respond to this. We weren’t prepared for it,” MacPhail said. “Crow looked like the right short-term solution. We lost Alan Dunn to LSU, and we’d be taking two hits if we had taken someone with a pitching pedigree from our farm system. We’re trying to do what we felt would be the least disruptive and we felt Crow made the most sense. And he can work with some of our hitters in his off time, anytime he’s not in the bullpen. But I don’t necessarily look at this as being forever. And I don’t know that Crow does, either.”