Orioles hire Mark Connor as pitching coach

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The Orioles have hired a pitching coach.

According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the O’s agreed to a contract last week with Mark Connor, a 61-year-old veteran of the pitching coach profression.  He is good friends with manager Buck Showalter and the two worked side-by-side for the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers during the 90s and 2000s.  Connor has spent 35 years as a baseball coach.  He was most recently a special assistant in the Rangers’ player development department.

The Orioles continue to fill out their 2011 coaching staff.  Jim Presley will serve as hitting coach, Wayne Kirby will handle first base and Rick Adair is locked in as the club’s bullpen coach.  Showalter is trying to lure in Don Wakamatsu to be his bench coach and Juan Samuel has not yet committed to coaching third base but is expected to.

O’s president Andy MacPhail told the Baltimore Sun that he is “pleased” with the current crop of coaches.  It’s a nice roster of names and the Orioles do have a nice level of young talent, but we’ll see how it all works out in the ever-tough American League East.

Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius say teams should expand protective netting

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Earlier, a young fan was struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium and had to be carried out before being taken to a hospital. Fortunately, it seems that the fan is okay.

As usual, when a scary incident such as today’s occurs, players come out in full support of expanding the protective netting at ballparks. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier as well as Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier and shortstop Didi Gregorius all said as much after Wednesday afternoon’s game.

Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis has also been a very vocal proponent of increased netting. For the most part, the players are pretty much all in agreement about the subject. It’s only a vocal minority of fans who seem to think that their ability to snag a random souvenir or have an unimpeded view supersedes the safety of their neighbors.

Video: Giancarlo Stanton hits a laser for his 56th home run

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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton continued his march towards 60 home runs, hitting No. 56 in Wednesday afternoon’s win against the Mets. The Marlins, leading 7-2 prior to Stanton’s two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth, didn’t need the extra run support but welcomed it all the same. Mets reliever Erik Goeddel tossed a 1-1, 78 MPH curve that caught too much of the plate.

After Wednesday’s action, Stanton is batting .279/.378/.634 with 120 RBI and 116 runs scored along with the 56 dingers in 646 plate appearances. The last player to hit at least 56 home runs in a season was Ryan Howard (58) in 2006. Stanton’s is the 19th player-season of at least 56 homers.