Orioles hire Manto as minor league hitting coordinator (and Martin note)

Former Orioles third baseman Jeff Manto is back in the organization.

The Orioles have hired Manto as minor league hitting coordinator. He replaces Mike Boulanger, who will move into an amateur and professional scouting role in 2014.

Manto served as the hitting coach for the Chicago White Sox from 2012-13. He was fired on Sept. 28 following a 99-loss season.

Boulanger will scout in the Midwest and handle some professional coverage.

Manto has strong ties to Orioles director of player development Brian Graham. Manto played for Graham in the Cleveland Indians system, and Graham hired him as minor league hitting coordinator for the Pittsburgh Pirates while serving as farm director.

“Jeff Manto would be my choice as hitting coordinator for the big league club or minor leagues or any position,” Graham said. “I really believe in this guy. He does special things with hitters.

“He was instrumental in the development of Andrew McCutchen in Pittsburgh, of Neal Walker, of Rajai Davis, of Nyjer Morgan. A whole bunch of hitters came through that Pittsburgh system that Jeff Manto was responsible for.”

Manto also served as the Pirates hitting coach in 2006-07 under manager Jim Tracy. He worked closely with Jose Bautista, who later emerged as one of the top power hitters in baseball.

“This guy is really good,” Graham said. “Buck (Showalter) endorses him, Jim Presley endorses him and Dan (Duquette) endorsed him. They’re all excited about the opportunity to add Jeff Manto.”

Manto played nine years in the majors, including 89 games with the Orioles in 1995, when he batted .256/.325/.492 with nine doubles, 17 homers and 38 RBIs in 254 at-bats. He tied a major league record with home runs in four consecutive at-bats, earning him the nickname “Mickey Manto.”

“His nickname is still ‘Mick.’ Everybody calls him ‘Mick,’” Graham said.

“He has a way about him. His knowledge of hitting is outstanding, but his ability to communicate it and get it across to hitters is special.”

The Yomiura Giants purchased Manto from the Orioles in January 1996. His last major league action came in 2000 when he appeared in seven games with the Colorado Rockies.

The Orioles hired Boulanger in January 2012 after he spent nine years in the Texas Rangers organization.

Note: The Orioles need to make another hire for their farm system. They’re in the process of sorting through candidates for the job of minor league infield instructor.

Matt Martin won’t return after one season. He replaced Bobby Dickerson, who joined Showalter’s staff as third base coach.

Martin also served as the Orioles minor league infielder instructor in 2004.

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