The Orioles made most of their new coaching staff available to reporters on a telephone conference call today. Here are some excerpts and quotes from the new coaches.
Bench coach Willie Randolph talked about his relationship with Buck Showalter:
“Knowing Buck for as long I have, hopefully, we’ll have some fun and the only way you have fun is winning ballgames. Buck is very prepared and one of the smartest guys I know in the game. He’s going to delegate and let us do our jobs, which is all we want as coaches.
“The main thing is you have a guy that is professional and organized and he’s going to make sure we understand our goals and go out there and bust our butts every day.”
Randolph on working with Buck before and now:
“I’m very excited to be back with Buck. He gave me my first shot, back in 94, as a very young, third base coach and has been very patient with me and taught me a lot about the game and about being organized and total detail on the field.
“He was a young manager then, but was very polished at that time and wise beyond his years. For me to sit and watch and get my feet wet under someone that understood how to run a club, it kick started my career.
“It also gave me an opportunity to learn how to be a manager and get that chance later on. We’ve stayed in touch over the years and he is a guy you love to work for. He’ll help you get the most out of your players, particularly fundamentally and that is very important in the game.”
Pitching coach Mark Conner was asked about his pitching philosophy:
“I’ve been asked that before. I don’t have a particular pitching philosophy, I think it revolves around each individual pitcher. What is it going to take to make them successful?
“You just can’t have one philosophy that every pitcher has to adhere to. You hear, strike one, get ahead, get hitters out with three pitches or less. I’m on board with all those things. But, basically, you have to take each pitcher, their strengths and weaknesses and work from that standpoint.”
Conner talked about learning the O’s young staff:
“I’ve gotten some video sent to me from Baltimore and I’ve gone through just about everybody and it’s quite impressive. They are young, with the exception of Guthrie, who has been a mainstay and workhorse.
“I had the video sent to Rick (Adair, bullpen coach) and he is going to break them down. We’ll do it by ourselves initially and then we’ll get together to talk. I’m going to rely on Rick a lot and I have a lot of respect for him. We’ve been together a long time and two heads are better than one.
“From what I have seen on film, it’s impressive. I like Britton and Arrieta and Matusz. I’ve watched quite a bit of these guys and some of the relievers. Seeing them on film is one thing and in person is another.
“We’ve got to get to know these guys and let them know we are there for them. We have to build trust, but it’s nothing that we haven’t done before. It’s fun to come into this situation, knowing there is some talent there.
“This is an organization now that is hell bent on developing young pitchers. If you look at the organizations in the playoffs this year, with the exception of one or two, most have done that. It’s the way to go.”
Conner on working with Buck in the past:
“I’ve known Buck for 30 years, going back to Triple-A. The biggest thing that Buck expects is for you to be prepared and leave no stone unturned. If you do your job, as a player or coach, we’ll have a good time and we have some unfinished business to take care of.”
Third base coach John Russell talked about managing the Pirates and joining the O’s:
“There were three good years in Pittsburgh, obviously our record wasn’t very good. But I enjoyed my time there and learned a lot. Got to work with young players and that was fun.
“Looking at Baltimore, I saw them last year in spring training and saw some of their young players and I was very encouraged. When Buck started you began to see some of the things I saw in spring training. I know Buck a little bit and have always been a fan of his.”
Russell, who will also instruct O’s catchers, on working with Matt Wieters:
“All the indications I have gotten and in talking with Buck, the kid really wants to be a good catcher and that’s important. If they have that, you can feed off that. He’s got to have that passion and it sounds like Matt really has that.
“Looking at the numbers, he obviously has a good arm and it looks like he receives the ball well. I think it’s the maturity of being able to go out there day in and day out and be able to handle situations without looking over your shoulder. Take it on yourself to respond to it.
“The relationship you have with your rotation and bullpen, you have to nurture. You have to grow up a little. Everything I have seen and heard, he’s on the right track. I think the big thing is continued growth.
“The pitching staff goes hand in hand with the catcher. You have to grow with them and understand what the pitching coach is doing with them so you can be his eyes out on the field. You have to follow the game and be aware of the game so the feedback you give back is correct. It’s continuing to learn the process and Major League baseball is a grind.
“There are a lot of things that go on in that position. I think the biggest thing is to take it all in, relax and understand what you are doing. When the pitching staff and catcher are on the same page, good things happen.”
Bullpen coach Rick Adair on the O’s pitchers and working with Connor:
“I’ve been fortunate over the last couple of years to see this group of young pitchers from the opposition standpoint. Everybody that came in you said, ‘boy, I’d like to have this guy.’ I appreciate this opportunity and I think the upside with the talent we have is unlimited.”