Noting a few changes on Orioles’ minor league side

The Orioles aren’t going to make any determinations on their coaching staff until after the last out on Oct. 3. They’ll do the usual evaluating and decide whether the unit remains intact under manager Brandon Hyde or requires one or more replacements.

Movement already has started on the minor league side.

Single-A Aberdeen hitting coach Tom Eller and low Single-A Delmarva hitting coach Patrick Jones won’t return in 2022, according to multiple sources.

Eller was head baseball coach at Harford Community College until his hiring in January 2019. He was at the school for 12 years and the program was known for hitting home runs and drawing walks - leading the National Junior College Athletic Association in the latter category for four consecutive seasons.

Thumbnail image for Oriole-Park-at-Camden-Yards-Warehouse-Sidebar.jpgThe Orioles assigned Eller to short-season Single-A Aberdeen in 2019 and high Single-A Frederick in 2020. The IronBirds became a full-season affiliate this year.

Jones was hired prior to the 2020 season to serve on manager Alan Mills’ staff with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team. He worked the past two seasons as a coach at Moeller (Ohio) High School and as a private hitting instructor for three years.

I’ve heard that the parting was mutual.

Jones was a college teammate of Orioles pitcher Zac Lowther and Triple-A Norfolk infielder Rylan Bannon at Xavier University.

Other changes could be in the works among Orioles affiliates.

The Orioles will be in the market for a new minor league medical coordinator.

Dave Walker, who’s been in the organization for 28 years, is retiring after his contract expires at the end of October.

Walker, 54, has played an extremely important role behind the scenes, his work done at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota. Players who are rehabbing routinely credit him for their recoveries and ability to get back on the field.

Which is probably why his name is familiar to many fans despite his separation from the club.

Walker has been the minor league medical coordinator for the past 19 seasons, responsible for developing and implementing the rehabilitation programs for Orioles major and minor league players. He began as the athletic trainer for the Appalachian League’s Bluefield Orioles in 1994.

The Orioles honored Walker in 2016 by presenting him with the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award, which usually goes to a manager or coach.

Walker eventually could find something else to do professionally, but in the meantime will be able to spend more time with his wife Marci and son Dylan, 13. And enjoy some well-deserved downtime at his Bradenton home.

The Orioles have solid internal options if they choose to stay within the organization for Walker’s replacement. Head athletic trainer Brian Ebel will be sifting through candidates.

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