Former Orioles reliever Alan Mills, who never met a brawl he didn't like, is returning to the organization as pitching coach at short-season Single-A Aberdeen.
Mills, who pitched for the Orioles from 1992-1998, and again from 2000-2001, will replace Scott McGregor. The former Orioles' left-hander has been reassigned to a position in Sarasota.
Mills found out about his hiring shortly after Jan. 1. I wrote about his interest in coming back to the Orioles on Nov. 29, and again shortly after the Winter Meetings.
"It means a great deal," Mills said. "I always felt like Baltimore was like my second home. It's a great organization and it's always been like family. It always had that tight feeling when I was there and I never really had a bad experience there at all. It's almost like I'm at home."
Mills, a fan favorite who was the first reliever to leave the bullpen during a few infamous brawls - and will always be remembered for decking Darryl Strawberry at Yankee Stadium - continues to live in Lakeland, Fla., where he's been coaching at his alma mater, Kathleen High School. He served as pitching coach for the Tigers' New York-Penn League affiliate in 2008.
Mills is hoping to lend a hand in spring training.
"I'm sure sometime or another I'll be there," he said. "At least, that's what I'm hoping."
McGregor, who was a candidate for the job of Orioles' bullpen coach, will spend the summer in Sarasota working with pitchers who are rehabbing at the minor league complex and draft picks who haven't been assigned to an affiliate. He'll run an orientation of sorts for the new pitchers.
McGregor was told that the club wants a pitcher with his background working with prospects at the lower levels.
"I enjoy working with the kids, so to be with these guys, helping them transfer to pro ball and to get used to all that, I'll really enjoy it," McGregor said. "I loved Aberdeen and working with the new guys, and now I'll be in Florida doing it. I'll miss Aberdeen, but I'm looking forward to it.
"I'm going to be spending some time with them and get them going in the right direction."
McGregor joked that he'll also have to make sure that some of these prospects don't try to throw 100 mph on their first day.