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Crowley won't return as O's hitting coach

Crowley won't return as O's hitting coach

BALTIMORE -- Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley will have a new role in the organization for the 2011 season, although there is no timetable on an official announcement from the team.

Crowley's departure as hitting coach was first reported by the Baltimore Sun, which cited two unnamed sources in a report Tuesday night detailing Crowley's role as an organization-wide offensive evaluator. A source confirmed the move to MLB.com, although it's uncertain when the decision will be officially unveiled.

Crowley's newly created role will involve him working closely with the Minor League side and applying the 63-year-old's expertise in areas including scouting and the Draft. He has spent the past 12 seasons as the Orioles' hitting coach and has been with the organization for two separate stints totaling 16 years.

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According to The Sun, Crowley was offered his role as hitting coach for another season, but elected to step aside in favor of the offensive evaluator position. Crowley did not comment on the Sun's report and did not return immediate attempts to reach him by MLB.com.

Showalter has said that the organization could ask certain members of the staff to move to new positions, and Crowley's case might not be the only one.

The rest of Baltimore's coaching staff remains in limbo, although Showalter told the group -- which includes pitching coach Rick Kranitz, bench coach Jeff Datz, bullpen coach Alan Dunn, first-base coach John "T-Bone" Shelby and third-base coach Gary Allenson -- that they are free to explore other options.

With a pair of division rivals, in Boston and New York, both looking for a pitching coach, Kranitz could be in the mix elsewhere. He has a previous relationship with Yankees manager Joe Girardi, stemming from when Girardi was a player with the Cubs, and he served as Girardi's pitching coach in Florida in 2006. Datz -- who just completed his first season in Baltimore -- could also make a move to join new Mariners manager Eric Wedge, whom he coached under in Cleveland.

With Monday's news that longtime third-base coach Brian Butterfield has elected to stay in Toronto for another year, it's possible Showalter could retain Allenson -- who started last season as Triple-A Norfolk's manager -- or give more of an expanded role to Minor League offensive coordinator Mike Bordick.

Former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu is thought to be another leading candidate to join Showalter's staff as a bench coach as well as his pitching coach Rick Adair, who was dismissed along with Wakamatsu in early August. Rangers special assistant Mark Connor's name has also been speculated as a candidate to be Showalter's next pitching coach, should Kranitz not be retained or chose to move on.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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