Orioles promote James Keller to the position of national pitching crosschecker

The Orioles have promoted scout James Keller to the position of national pitching crosschecker, O's scouting director Gary Rajsich said tonight.

Keller actually began working more closely with scouting pitchers before last season's draft. That was a draft where the Orioles took pitchers in the first two rounds, drafted eight in the first 12 rounds and selected 12 pitchers in the first 17 rounds.

"That is really James' specialty. He's real good at identifying pitchers and real good with pitchers' mechanics," Rajsich said tonight. "We just thought this was the best way to utilize his strengths. Not that he will only see pitchers, because he is a pretty good scout. He was one of our pro scouts when we made the change over (of some scouts) from pro to amateur. We just have a lot of confidence in his ability."

Keller, based in Sacramento, Calif., also had some minor league scouting assignments last season. His promotion became official Jan. 1.

Rajsich said the Orioles now have four national scouts, counting himself, with Keller joining Danny Haas, the club's national scouting supervisor, and his brother Matt Haas, hired in November, as a national crosschecker.

The Orioles also have a new scout in south Florida. Juan Alvarez, who worked that area last year, has left the club to join the Cleveland Indians as a scout and short-season pitching coach.

To take Alvarez's spot, Rajsich hired Kelvin Colon to scout the important south Florida region. Colon, a native of Puerto Rico, had been working in the Florida Marlins front office until joining the Orioles.

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