Orioles hire hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh

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MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports that the Orioles have hired Scott Coolbaugh as the club’s new hitting coach. Once Charlie Manuel turned down the position, the Orioles moved quickly. In Dallas, Coolbaugh met for two hours with manager Buck Showalter and vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson.

Coolbaugh, 48, spent parts of four seasons in the major leagues with the Rangers, Padres, and Cardinals. He had been serving as the minor league hitting coordinator for the Rangers. Kubatko writes that the Rangers had initially declined permission for the Orioles to interview Coolbaugh but relented yesterday.

Jim Presley had been the Orioles’ hitting coach dating back to 2010, but he was reassigned within the organization in late November.

More on Coolbaugh, via Kubatko:

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.