Samuel reportedly in the mix to return

Juan Samuel will be back coaching third base for the Orioles
next season.

According to a report on the Baltimore Sun’s website on
Tuesday afternoon, Samuel has yet to discuss contractual specifics, but has
given manager Buck Showalter his word that he wants to return.  Samuel, who is home in the Dominican
Republic, told the paper that he spoke with Showalter on Monday and he’s had “good
conversations”, prompting his return.

The 49-year-old Samuel , who took over as interim manager
when the Orioles dismissed Dave Trembley, was thought to be in the mix for the
wealth of managerial jobs this winter, but his name never surfaced as a legitimate
candidate anywhere.

Samuel was the only member of Trembley’s staff to decline
Showalter’s offer to stay on and finish the 2010 season, and ironically enough,
could be the only member who returns next spring. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz
accepted a deal with the Houston Astros Minor League system on Monday, while
hitting coach Terry Crowley will move into a new role as a hitting evaluator,
clearing space for Jim Presley who is expected to be officially unveiled in the
next week.  Rick Adair will fill the role
of bullpen coach and, if the Sun’s report is true, Samuel’s return will relieve
Gary Allenson of third-base duties.

Allenson started the season in Triple-A Norfolk and was
promoted to the Orioles staff when Samuel was named interim June 4. Allenson was
not aware of Samuel’s interest in coaching third base again, and told MLB.com
on Tuesday that he would head to Phoenix -where the Orioles are preparing to
hold organization meetings – on Wednesday and speak with the front office
before deciding his future. Given the economy and unprecedented amount of
movement at the major League level, Allenson didn’t rule out leaving the
Orioles organization but said he would also consider returning to manage at
Norfolk next spring.

A well-liked coach, Samuel was also tasked with working with
the infielders last spring, and most notably helped Miguel Tejada transition
from shortstop to third base.  He managed
the Orioles to a 17-34 record before stepping down with Showalter’s hire and
after declining to return to third base, Samuel spent the rest of the season
evaluating the Orioles Dominican Republic operations, which includes a baseball
academy.

In the days leading up to Samuel’s final game at the helm, the popular
skipper garnered raves from the players as a shrewd baseball man with a steady,
even-keeled approach.

“I just think the players relate to him,” outfielder Nick Markakis
said of Samuel, the first Latin-born manager in franchise history. “He
played the game, he knows what it’s like to go out there every day and grind it
out. I think we related to him good, and he related to us.”

Added pitcher Jeremy Guthrie: “[Samuel] just showed a real good
presence in the dugout, and a real good ability to read and feel the flow of
the game.”

The Orioles have yet to name their first base coach, with John “T-Bone”
Shelby holding that post last season, but there’s no question the job will come
with expertise in the outfield. The O’s were granted permission to speak with
Rangers Minor League outfield/baserunning coordinator Wayne Kirby during Texas’
World Series run, and Kirby remains a candidate to join the staff. The
46-year-old Kirby spent parts of eight seasons in the Majors as a right
fielder.

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