Orioles manager Buck Showalter believes his 2014 coaching staff is as good as any that he’s worked with in all of his years in baseball.
The staff was completed earlier today with the official hiring of Dom Chiti as bullpen coach, following the addition of Dave Wallace as pitching coach.
“I like our coaching staff and I liked our staff last year,” Showalter said. “We were going to have to hire somebody. We wanted Dave to have somebody he felt comfortable with, and I think Dave and Dom are great complements to each other. They’ve worked together, so obviously, they know each other. And I know Dom and what he brings. I think it’s a good hire.
“You’d be hard-pressed find anybody who’s more well-rounded. This guy has done everything there is to do in the game. He’s considered one of the top scouts in baseball. He’s been a pro scout in the majors. He’s got Baltimore roots. He’s very good with pitchers. The Latin America area, he’s very well-connected there. But the big thing is helping Dave. He’s Dave’s assistant pitching coach.
“I look forward to getting fresh eyes on the staff from both of them.”
Showalter expressed regret over Bill Castro’s departure from the organization. Castro turned down an offer to scout on the major league level after failing to receive an interview for the pitching coach and bullpen coach positions.
“The one unfortunate thing was Bill. Bill didn’t do anything wrong,” Showalter said.
“We had to hire a pitching coach and I wanted (Wallace) to have who he wanted as bullpen coach, and it worked out that I knew the guy, too. And I certainly approve of Dom. We added two really good ones to the staff. I’m excited. This is as good a coaching staff as I’ve had. It’s well-rounded. It’s got what needs to be covered covered.
“I know if I’m a pitcher who hasn’t quite made his mark here yet, I’ve got to feel good coming to camp with a fresh start. It’s going to be fun. I’ll get out of their way and let them do their thing. They’re very good at what they do. Dom doesn’t take himself too seriously. It will be hard to beat either one of them to the ballpark.”
Showalter is flying into Daytona Beach early Tuesday morning for his induction into the Florida State League Hall of Fame. He batted .362 in 56 games with Fort Lauderdale in 1977, his first professional team. He served as a hitting coach in the league and managed Fort Lauderdale in 1987-88, compiling a 154-118 record.
“That’s a longevity thing,” Showalter said of the honor. “Most people don’t stay in the Florida State League that long.”
“I don’t take it lightly,” he said, turning serious. “That’s why I’m going.”
Showalter will fly to New York on Wednesday to attend a fundraiser for Yogi Berra’s museum.