Orioles interested in Pinto, other notes

The Orioles have expressed interest in Venezuelan left-hander Renyel Pinto, 29, a free agent who spent parts of five seasons with the Florida Marlins.

David Stockstill, the Orioles’ director of international operations, scouted Pinto over the past week in the Venezuela Winter League and recently met with him. I’m told that a deal isn’t done, but it’s a possibility.

In his first seven starts for Caribes, Pinto was 5-0 with a 1.42 ERA, 28 hits allowed, 16 walks and 42 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings. He had a 1.01 WHIP and opponents were batting .182 against him.

Pinto is 8-10 with a 3.62 ERA in 244 major league relief appearances, with 152 walks and 222 strikeouts in 231 innings.

Pinto hasn’t pitched in the majors since the Marlins released him on June 23, 2010. The Cardinals signed him on July 2, 2010 and released him seven weeks later.

The restructuring of the Orioles’ front office continued yesterday with the hiring of Gary Rajsich as director of amateur scouting and the reassignment of Lee MacPhail IV from director of professional scouting to a major league scouting position.

More hires and reassignments are coming, and we could learn about a few of them before or during the winter meetings.

The Orioles won’t necessarily bring in anyone to inherit MacPhail’s old title or Matt Klentak’s title of director of baseball operations. Executive vice president Dan Duquette could divvy up the responsibilities.

I don’t regard it as downsizing if the Orioles are reassigning and adding personnel. It’s just a restructuring, which was expected to happen once Duquette was hired.

The coaching staff would be finalized by now if the Orioles weren’t waiting on Demarlo Hale. He’s going to be named third base coach if the Red Sox let him out of his contract. They first must choose between Bobby Valentine and Gene Lamont as manager.

I was told last night that Bill Castro’s the choice for bullpen coach “so far.” He’s expected to be offered the job, and he’ll most certainly take it.

As I’ve written, I expect plenty of changes to occur among the minor league affiliates. Outsiders like Ron Johnson (Triple-A Norfolk manager) and Dan Radison (Double-A Bowie coach) will join the organization. Other coaches and managers will be reassigned.

Here’s an intriguing name that could come into play: Former Orioles reliever Alan Mills.

Mills served as pitching coach for the Single-A Oneonta Tigers in 2008, and I’ve heard that he’s interested in returning to this organization. He’s been discussed as a possibility with one of the lower-level affiliates.

While we’ve been obsessing over which free agent catcher the Orioles might sign as a backup to Matt Wieters - OK, I’ve been obsessing over it - they’ve been exploring trade possibilities and looking at a couple six-year minor league free agents.

At this time, there’s no interest in Jorge Posada or Jason Varitek. They want to sign or acquire a catcher who could start every day if Wieters went on the disabled list.

While Duquette believes that Chong Tae-Hyon can be an effective major league reliever, the importance of the signing - which should become official later this week - lies in the Orioles’ ability to open the door to the Korean market. Same thing as the Koji Uehara signing opening the door to the Japanese market, except that Uehara brought much more impressive credentials to Baltimore.

FOX Sports reported yesterday that the Angels are looking for a starting pitcher and they’ve recently talked to the Orioles about right-hander Jeremy Guthrie.

I had to laugh when Guthrie tweeted that his favorite Train song is “Calling All Angels.” Maybe that’s a sign.

So what would the Orioles want in return for Guthrie, and what would the Angels be willing to surrender? Keep in mind that the Orioles also need pitching.

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