By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 8, 2006
BALTIMORE, June 7 -- In a move meant to strengthen their pitching staff, the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday named Larry McCall, the pitching coach at their Class AAA affiliate in Ottawa, as their new bullpen coach and moved Rick Dempsey, formerly the bullpen coach, to first base coach. Dave Cash, who was the first base coach, will be reassigned, and at this point it's uncertain whether he will choose to remain in the organization. Cash asked for two weeks to decide whether to accept a new assignment. The Orioles granted him the time.
Mike Flanagan, the Orioles' executive vice president, said the reason for the move was to bring up McCall.
"He's had a lot of the players [in the minors] that are here now," Flanagan said of McCall, who has spent 17 years in the Orioles organization. "He just has more of a pitching background. It's probably a move that's overdue."
Players were shocked with the decision to reassign Cash, who had been a popular coach.
"I hope they give the players a good reason why they did it because it's going to hurt everyone," third baseman Melvin Mora said. "He worked hard all of spring training. He came here and worked hard all season. He was always happy and positive. Where are you going to find a man like that? It's going to take 1,000 years to find a man like that."
Flanagan, who did not consult with the players, said the move should not be seen as a slight to Cash.
"It's really not about Dave," Flanagan said. "It's not something he did not do. We felt that with some shuffling we could have a more efficient staff."
Though he looked forward to the move, Dempsey said he would miss his time in the bullpen.
"Going back to first base is going to be a fun test," said Dempsey, who was the Orioles' first base coach for part of last season. "A little more high energy. But it's nothing to be afraid of."
He also will spend more time coaching the catchers. "Same old stuff, just more responsibility," he said.
Flanagan hinted that the team likely would ask Cash to be a coach for one of its short-season minor league franchises. Cash is in his 10th season with the Orioles organization. . . .
The Orioles named Garrett Olson of Class A Frederick as their organizational pitcher of the month. He was 2-1 with a 2.06 ERA in May. Keys second baseman Paco Figueroa was named the player of the month. He hit .365 (35 for 96) with 20 runs and 13 RBI in May.
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