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:

Report: 11 umpires have opted out of the 2020 season

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Jon Heyman reports that 11 MLB umpires have opted out of the 2020 season or have otherwise declined to participate. He says “some are said to have family members who are ill.” The umpires’ identities are not yet known.

Umpires, like players, have the right to opt-out with full pay if they are in a high risk group due to preexisting health conditions. Umpires can, obviously, be older as well, so age factors into it for some as well. Also like players, umpires who are themselves not high risk can opt-out if they have concern for the health of family members, though they will forego paychecks.

Recently, one umpire who is high risk — Joe West — made headlines for not only choosing not to opt-out but for also giving voice to COVID-19 denialism, questioning official statistics about infections and deaths.

The latest on West: