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October 6, 2010

Fate of coaches to be decided soon; Berken cleared to start workouts; Roberts CT scan clear

Oriole coaches haven't heard definitive word on whether they'll be invited back for next year, but that should come by Friday. Manager Buck Showalter is flying home to Texas today.

It's impossible to know for sure what will happen and I certainly don't expect to hear it before the existing coaching staff does. However, the sense is that hitting coach Terry Crowley will return for his 17th season on the coaching staff. Again, there have been no final decisions made, but that was the overwhelming feeling among Oriole players on Sunday, along with several other members of the organization.

I still expect Showalter to keep a couple of the coaches, and then to add a couple of new ones, but we should know for sure by the end of the week.

In other Orioles' news, reliever Jason Berken, who did not pitch after Aug. 12 because of a torn labrum in his right shoulder, has been cleared to start working out and running. However, he's still going to wait about another a month before beginning his rehabilitation program. Berken is still ahead of schedule and on pace to be a full go when spring training begins in February.

Second baseman Brian Roberts, who missed the final six games while experiencing headaches, had a CT scan performed and it came out clear. Roberts admitted Sunday that the headaches were likely caused by him hitting himself with a bat in frustration following a strikeout on Sept. 27.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 1:50 PM | | Comments (25)


Showalter is leaning towards keeping Terry Crowley. In my opinion, that would be a huge mistake. When you look at all of the teams that lead the league in runs scored every year, you see one constant. A high OBP. The Orioles have underachieved in this category with Crowley serving as the hitting coach. It is time for a new approach.

Crowley has no business being asked back, let alone holding a major league job. Several players have actually regressed under his tenure, yet somehow, he survives from manager to manager. Ask Matt Weiters how much he values Crowley's input.

Showalter is the manager, so it's ultimately his decision whether to retain Crowley; however, it's a decision I simply can't support. From our terrible offensive numbers compared to other teams' to the fact that he's been one of the constants over the last 13 terrible seasons, I would think it'd be a no-brainer to sever ties.

If Buck was truly given latitude to hire his own coaches, then there is no way he would pick Crowley who is just plain awful.

Terry Crowley has no business being back with the Orioles - if he is back I have to question if Buck has full controll over his staff.

I'd keep T-Bone and let the rest go...

Dan and Bird
Do you have close access to this team? How would you know that certain players have either regressed or do not value Crowley's input? The Orioles actually had a pretty decent team offensive performance last year. Yes all individual players did not equal or add to those numbers but that is the game of baseball. There is a reason why Crowley has survived from manager to manager. Yes some of those managers do not hold the same credibility as Buck so if Buck does keep him that will say something about Crowley's teaching skills.

Showalter and MacPhail have big decisions to make both on the player and coaching sides. As far as coaching is concerned, I still respect Crowley. But I am not sure he should return for another season with the O's. The one coach out of the bunch that I think should return is John "T-Bone" Shelby. He has been a solid first base coach, has great trust and rapport with his players and would make a great third base coach with the team either next year or in the near future. Just my thoughts.

Say it ain't so, Buck! Please, please don't bring back the Crow. Crowley as hitting coach = status quo to a fan base desperately hoping for an infusion of new blood to change the culture of losing. If he is brought back as hitting coach, it just lends credence to my theory that Terry Crowley has incriminating photos of Peter Angelos.

Crowley has got to go! Where is there an example of him making a better hitter out of a prospect. The GRAVY TRAIN ends for him.

Sounds like Brian could be suffering from food allergies that present themselves as migraine auras. Strange but true... happened to me years ago. Gave up gluten, peanuts, and cheese and the problems went away.

TO all the crowley bashers, he suffers from the same problems affecting the rest of the team. You can only coach up to the talent level you are given. AS for the OBP take note from the yankees and oakland it is taught all the way through the minors, the only way to do it consistently. IF they do keep Crowley I trust Buck at this stage, but I would love to see Eddie Murray back to help with the switch hitters and power guys. HE is also a major league hitting coach if you decide to replace Crowley.. Shelby has been solid and Alexander agressive at 3B. I would love to see Bordick on full time also.

Amazing how many experts there are here on hitting. I think the fact that the Crow has been here so long probably is an indication of how respected he is as a coach. And if Bucky thinks he is worth keeping, I would not be second guessing him. Hope he keeps Kranitz as well.

Terry Crowley is a tremendous hitting coach.
Rick Kranitz is a tremendous pitching coach.

But both can preach and teach until they're blue in the face..... it's still up to the players to listen, learn, and implement in order for results to be evident.

We are finally beginning to see the results of Kranitz's patience and persistence in the emergence of the Orioles pitching staff in 2010.

The same is true of Crowley.
Luke Scott's approach was very different in 2010 than it had been in previous seasons.
Felix Pie is an entirely different hitter as well.
Adam Jones, though still a work in progress, showed large strides in his ability to hit to the opposite field and his patience at the plate.

These are mostly young guys who have yet to reach their best years. Their work is far from done and so is Crowley's.

I see no one better to serve as the Oriole batting coach.

Jeff, now that the season is over, any speculation amonst your peers as to why they team was so awful for 4 months and terrific under Buck? It would seem that it has to be more than just not being a lame duck manager like the first 2 were.

Jeff Z's reply: Combination of things really with, I think, the biggest factor was the improved health of the team as Buck mentioned several times. Just think about how many close games they won in which JJ and/or Gonzalez got big outs in the 7th and 8th inning and then Koji closed door in the ninth. None of those guys were consistently available for Trembley, Samuel. But I think it was also obvious that when Buck took over, the players paid a greater attention to detail, were more focused and maybe went the extra mile because they were being evaluated by a manager who they knew is going to have a very strong say in the team's decision-making process.

Bear the Birdfan,

I am not sure what games you were watching this year. But to say Terry Crowley & Rick Kranitz are tremendous coaches is a bit baffling.

Crowley has helped hitters here and there. I do think he's helped Pie. His overall approach with the team is terrible. If it weren't for the Astros, the Orioles would have been the least walked team in baseball. I think Nick Markakis put it best when he said no one had a clue. They got better under Buck, Crowley has been here for awhile, he can be changed to a special consultant or something. Simply put there needs to be a new hitting coach.

As for Kranitz, I am not a fan. If the Orioles pitchers came out and said, boy this guy really helped me, I couldn't have done it without him and that pitcher gave an example of how Kranitz did that for him. None of the pitchers have done that to date to the best of my knowledge. So I doubt I will change my mind about him.

Keep Jeff Datz, I think he could be pretty good in the right environment.
Buck S would be good for him.

As for recommendations as to how the new coaches should be, I have no clue.
I trust Buck Showalter will do a good job of picking new ones.
The only suggestion I have for him is to for the most part clean house!

Oh one other thing who's this other Dan W?? LOL I thought I was the only Dan W in the world who's an Orioles fan.

i would hope that buck will keep terry crowley. i think the players wised up when they heard buck was going to be the manager and that he would not stand for a buch of schanagans. on a different topic i don't see any need for a bench coach. it is money the team could use for the big bat they desperately need

OK, good. The test results for Brian Roberts were clean. Now for the head CAT scan on AM...

would it help crowley's evaluation, if he had some real hitters,with which to work?
free swingers,tejada,atkins, adams,mr pie et al, according to markakis wouldn't approach an at bat with aplan,is this mr. crowley fault or the players'
seems at bat attitudes changed with the managers and deportation of tejada

Keeping Crowley is not a bad idea, but keeping him as hitting coach would not be advisable. I think he is a good coach when it comes to working with player's swings, but when it comes to approach, I think the Orioles need a change. Crowley is a good hitting coach, we just need a change in hitting approach and I'm not sure Crowley can bring that change.

A thought regarding Crowley:

Like most on here- and In O's Nation- I also think Crowley has been a major problem as hitting coach. However, notice that when Buck came on, it seemed as though not only were our hitters doing better w/runners in scoring position, but we were also being more patient at the plate. Perhaps Buck is influencing Crow to emphasize more patience? IF this is the case, I would be less adamant on Crow needing to leave. I do think Buck completely has his say, and if he decides to keep Crow- perhaps even adjusting how he instructs the hitters- than I'm ok w/giving Crow another year to see if we do see a difference.

"You can only coach up to the talent level you are given."

"But both can preach and teach until they're blue in the face..... it's still up to the players to listen, learn, and implement in order for results to be evident."

A lot of these same ideas were expressed to defend Dave Trembley, yet I doubt anyone here today will say that the O's should have stuck with Trembley instead of hiring Showalter.

Clutch hitting was still a major problem for this club even after Buck came on board. If the pitching didn't come around, the O's would have lost more games during the close of the 2010 season.

Adding a big bat or two to the O's line-up certainly would help, but I still remember games from a month or so ago when the O's batters would swing at the first or second pitch only to fly or ground out.

I'm not saying that Crowley is the only problem, but the O's performance under his tenure has hardly been praiseworthy.

Since none of us know for sure what's been going on another possibility for both Crow and Kranitz is the players didn't think they knoew what they were talking about until Buck came and said the same things. Maybe that's why they improved so much, they finally had someone advising them that they respected.

Terry Crowley has a well deserved reputation as one of the best hitting coaches in baseball. I have heard no good reasons from the naysayers why he should not be retained for 2011.

I think Wieters, Pie, Jones and Luke Scott all became betters hitters due to Crowley's input as a hitting coach. Crow was a very good hitter when he played and he's imparting his knowledge to these young players. He has an excellent reputation around baseball and given the right talent to work with who are willing to listen to him and apply what he says will pay big dividends in the long run. KEEP the Crow!!!

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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