French recalls early days coaching Pérez


SARASOTA, Fla. – The reunion between Orioles reliever Cionel Pérez and pitching coach Drew French was much easier to arrange than their first meeting.

The Astros signed Pérez, a native of Matanzas, Cuba, to a $5.15 million bonus in 2016 as an international free agent, but they voided the deal a month later due to an issue with his physical that led to concerns from the medical staff that he’d eventually need elbow surgery. The agreement was restructured in December at $2 million.

Perez made his professional debut in 2017 with the Class A Quad Cities River Bandits, the eventual Midwest League champions. His pitching coach was French, who saw potential inside a raw prospect.

French, hired by the Orioles in November to serve in the same role, introduced Pérez to the organization’s standards and methods, while also trying to ease his transition to life in a new country.

“I remember the onboarding process of, this is kind of our North Star, this is how we grade you, this is how we look at your delivery and your arsenal, and this is how we expect things to go, and throwing the ball in certain places,” French said earlier this week.

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Orioles hiring Drew French as pitching coach (Bautista wins AL reliever award)


The Orioles are finalizing the structure of their 2024 coaching staff as they approach the Winter Meetings. Business that doesn’t influence their active roster.

According to an industry source, the Orioles are prepared to hire Drew French as their pitching coach.

French, 39, spent the past three seasons as the Braves’ bullpen coach. He’ll take over for Chris Holt, who maintains his duties as director of pitching.

Holt and executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias are familiar with French from his five seasons as pitching coach in the Astros’ organization from 2016-20. French was one of two pitching coaches at the alternate training site in 2020 before joining Houston toward the end of the regular season and playoffs to work with the club’s taxi squad.

French began his tenure in the Astros’ system as pitching coach at short-season Tri-City. He served in the same role with the 2017 Midwest League champion Quad Cities River Bandits and 2018 Carolina League champion Buies Creed Astros.

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Holt won't serve as Orioles pitching coach next season, Holmes leaving organization

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The Orioles are making changes to the pitching side of their major league coaching staff.

According to a source, Chris Holt won’t serve as pitching coach in 2024 but maintains his duties as director of pitching, a title pinned to him prior to the pandemic 2020 season.

Assistant pitching coach Darren Holmes is leaving the organization, per the source, creating a second opening on the staff.

Holt was hired in 2019 as minor league pitching coordinator, following executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias and vice president and assistant general manager Sig Mejdal from the Astros organization, where he was assistant pitching coordinator. The Orioles promoted Holt to pitching coach in 2021 as Doug Brocail’s replacement.

The latest switch enables Holt to concentrate fully on supervising the rest of the organization in the quest to develop more pitching, leveraging his skill set and experience. He retains access to and authority over the minor league pitchers while also able to work directly with the major league staff.

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