Juan Samuel likely to return as Orioles' third base coach
It looks as if Buck Showalter will be filling out his coaching staff with the man he replaced in August.
Juan Samuel, who took over as the club’s interim manager in June after Dave Trembley was fired and stepped down once Showalter was hired, is expected to be named the Orioles’ third base and infielders coach for 2011.
Samuel is waiting for a call from president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail to discuss contractual specifics, but he said he has given Showalter his word that he wants to return, so he assumes it will happen.
“It looks like I’m going to be back,” Samuel said via phone from the Dominican Republic. “We’ve had some good conversations, and I want to come back and I’ll be coaching third.”
Samuel and Showalter spoke by phone on Monday, and Samuel acknowledged that it was strange at first thinking that he would rejoin the Orioles in a position he had held since 2007. In fact, Samuel turned down the opportunity to return to third base from the manager’s office in August and instead took an informal role that required him to evaluate the organization’s Dominican Republic operation.
But Samuel, 49, said he thinks it will be easier to join Showalter now that it won’t be directly after his managing stint.
“It kind of surprised me a little bit when I got a phone call that [Buck] was going to call me. I was like, ‘Oh, boy,’ ” Samuel said. “But I think if I start [at third base] in spring training, the transition will be much easier. It was so uncomfortable to stay in that role [in August], but now I am looking forward to starting from scratch in spring training.”
In putting together his coaching staff, Showalter wanted a base coach who could work with infielders and also was hoping to add a Spanish-speaking coach. He accomplished both with Samuel. Although not involved in the organization’s glory days, Samuel is also someone with Orioles ties, given his four previous years as a coach with the club.
Showalter is not commenting on his coaching staff until it is officially announced by the organization, but it looks to be nearly complete.
Hitting coach Jim Presley and bullpen coach Rick Adair have agreed to contracts and will be present at the organizational meetings in Arizona, which begin in earnest Thursday. The club is negotiating with Mark Connor to be pitching coach, and though not official, it seems as if it will happen.
Don Wakamatsu is the leading candidate to be the club’s bench coach, assuming he doesn’t take a managerial job elsewhere. That leaves a first base coach who can also instruct the outfielders. Former major leaguer Wayne Kirby is considered a serious candidate for that job.
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