Bill Castro has previous experience as a pitching coach with the Brewers, and he’s returning to that role with the Orioles starting today after the club announced that Rick Adair had taken a personal leave of absence.
This isn’t the way Castro wanted to return to the dugout.
“Well, I was surprised,” he said. “I felt uncomfortable in the beginning with the situation. I don’t want anything bad to happen to anybody.
“Rick will be fine, and we’ll take care of things around here. Going to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Nothing is going to change.
“I felt uncomfortable when Buck (Showalter) talked to me about it. I want to be a pitching coach in the big leagues, but I don’t want it to be this way. It happened. We’ll do the best we can and I’ll hold it down until Rick gets back.
“It’s our team, it’s everybody’s team. It’s not my pitching staff, it’s not Buck’s pitching staff. It’s everybody’s pitching staff.”
Castro met with the pitchers before addressing reporters in the auxiliary clubhouse.
“That’s why I was so late here coming in,” he said. “I was talking to the pitchers out there before they got to their stretching. I just told them I’m an open letter. Keep the line of communication open. I’m here for them, to help them, and we’re all trying to get where we want to get. Get to play in October.”
The transition should be relatively smooth for Castro, who joined the organization as bullpen coach in 2012.
“It will be different because now everything is on my shoulders, but I’ve done this before and I’ll be able to handle the guys,” he said. “I’m pretty comfortable with everybody here and I think the guys are comfortable with me, so I don’t think it will be anything that drastic.
“I talked to them before and they understood what I was talking about. I saw some of the guys shaking their heads, saying, ‘Yes, yes.’ “
Castro offered his description of a pitching coach’s role.
“You start by making them as comfortable as they can be, get them prepared for the game,” he said. “They do their physical part. I make them feel comfortable, try to understand what they’re thinking and help them along with the game.
“With our experience, I think we can bounce ideas back and forth off each other and help them get through it.”
Scott McGregor, who is taking over Castro’s duties, said a bullpen coach can serve as a second pitching coach.
“Hopefully so, because you have experience,” he said. “If you’re out there in the bullpen, you’re watching a guy warm up, and if he’s struggling, hopefully you have a couple things that you can quickly do.
“I learned that from Ray Miller when he was the pitching coach with us. He would sit in the exact same spot every day on the bench. He’d know where their leg was supposed to be, their arm was supposed to be, and if they were out there warming up and they were a little down, he’d go, ‘Hey, just make the adjustments.’ So you’d make a quick adjustment and certainly we talk about it all the time, because you want them to come in and get the first guy out.”