In case you're wondering how the process works for the Orioles to hire a new third base coach, executive vice president Dan Duquette explains it. Keep reading.
"We're working on that this week. Buck (Showalter) is working on that," Duquette said. "Buck asks for my input, but he's going to decide who he wants for third base coach."
Showalter is compiling a list and contacting candidates. And he wants someone who's coached third base in the past.
"Teams generally prefer experience in the big leagues," Duquette said. "That's generally where teams look first."
Duquette pointed out more than once that "there's a lot of interest in the job," and he took great pleasure in saying it. It's nice that Baltimore is viewed as a desirable destination for both players and coaches. It hasn't always been the case.
"There's a lot of interest. I can tell you that," Duquette said. "There's no shortage of qualified candidates."
Because the organization is more appealing now?
"I'm not sure," Duquette replied. "I can tell you there's a lot of interest in that job, and qualified candidates."
DeMarlo Hale left the Orioles to take another coaching job, moving from third base to the Blue Jays' dugout. Is it a promotion?
"It depends on your perspective," Duquette said. "DeMarlo did a good job for us."
Japanese pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada has almost been forgotten when the discussion turns to the 2013 rotation and bullpen. He underwent ligament-reconstructive surgery on his left elbow in May, so he's not expected to be ready on opening day. What's the timetable?
"Generally, it takes 12 months before the player is back pitching competitively," Duquette said.
So we should expect Wada to stay back in extended spring training while the Orioles break camp?
"Probably," Duquette replied.
Will Wada return as a starter or reliever?
"We'll see how he comes along," Duquette said. "He's been a starting pitcher over the course of his career."
It still seems strange to me that the Orioles' winter shopping list doesn't include multiple relievers. When's the last time that their bullpen has mostly been set? I find it unsettling in a way. I don't know this team anymore.
"We've got some established pitchers in the bullpen," Duquette said." The 'pen was a strength of the team, and the guys in the 'pen, other than (Luis) Ayala, are still pretty young. They all had pretty good years."
There's nothing new to report on an extension for Showalter. It's going to happen.
"I'm sure the team will address that at the appropriate time," Duquette said. "Buck did a good job and I'm sure the team would like to have him here beyond next season."
Since I'm posting non-update updates, Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia still hasn't obtained his visa. Once that happens, he'll get some at-bats in the Dominican and eventually settle in Sarasota. We continue to wait.
I've been asked on the blog and Twitter about former New Zealand softball player Pita Rona, who signed last winter. He reported to the Australian academy, and Duquette said Rona will be busier this summer, though where he plays hasn't been determined.
Remember when Showalter mentioned how Kevin Gausman's fastball reached 97 mph in the instructional league, while the Orioles were playing the Yankees in the American League Division Series? I relayed that story to Duquette, and he replied, "Actually, it was 97 and 98."
The Orioles have signed three independent league players in the last two days.
Update: Make it four players. According to a tweet from the American Association, the Orioles also signed right-hander Marcel Prado, 25, who was 2-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 44 relief appearances with El Paso. He spent four years in the Dodgers system and has been playing independent ball since 2010.
"Remember I said we would be looking at all markets to add to our player personnel?" Duquette said. "We're active in the independent league market. We've added some additional staff people to help us identify potential players in the independent market. I just believe you have to be active in all the markets, right? And the independent leagues are a market that we're looking at.
"This past year, we added Lew Ford to the team from an independent league market. We saw the benefit of that. And Rich Rundles came to us from the independent league. There are a few players every year that come to the big leagues from independent leagues."
Shameless plug alert: I'm appearing with Tom Davis today on "The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report" from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. on MASN, which keeps me detached from the blog for a while. Steve Melewski will handle any breaking news.