The Baltimore Orioles named former Cincinnati Reds pitching coordinator Sammy Ellis as their new pitching coach today, casting Mike Hargrove's finalized coaching staff as a mixture of Baltimore holdovers, Hargrove lieutenants and new faces.
Ellis, 58, has spent 23 seasons as a pitching coach, bullpen coach and minor league pitching coordinator for the Yankees, White Sox, Mariners, Red Sox and Reds. He replaces Bruce Kison, who will be reassigned in the Orioles' minor league system.
Four Baltimore coaches return from Ray Miller's 1999 staff: Hitting coach Terry Crowley, third base coach Sam Perlozzo and bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks return to their same positions. Eddie Murray, last year's bench coach, will split those duties with Jeff Newman, who coached third base during Hargrove's eight seasons in Cleveland. Murray also will coach outfielders. Hargrove also will bring first base coach Brian Graham with him from Cleveland. He replaces Marv Foley, who was reassigned to manage Class AAA Rochester.
Ellis becomes the Orioles' seventh pitching coach in seven seasons, following Dick Bosman (1992-94), Mike Flanagan (1995), Pat Dobson (1996), Ray Miller (1997), Flanagan again (1998) and Kison.
"We were looking for a specific type of pitching coach," said Orioles director of player personnel Syd Thrift, who interviewed candidates this week along with Hargrove. "Sammy is a teacher. He has an ability to simplify things. And he has had lots of major league experience."
"He has a common-sense approach to pitching," said Orioles director of player development Tom Trebelhorn, who coached with Ellis on Jim Lefebvre's staff with the Chicago Cubs in 1992. "He's very good on mechanics and delivery."
Under Kison last season, the Orioles' pitching staff flopped in the early stages of the season, posting a 6.49 earned run average in April, but rebounded to finish fourth in the American League with a 4.74 ERA.