Orioles Make Changes In Player Development





BALTIMORE—The Orioles retained the managers with their top two minor league affiliates, but they made changes further down the organizational ladder.

Ron Johnson returns to Triple-A Norfolk and Gary Allenson returns to Double-A Bowie. After that, Ryan Minor will move up from low Class A Delmarva to high Class A Frederick. Former Tigers interim manager Luis Pujols—the cousin of Albert Pujols—has been hired to manage the Shorebirds.

Former major league catcher Matt Merullo will manage short-season Aberdeen, and Orlando Gomez, formerly the manager at Frederick, will guide the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team.

Brian Graham, formerly the coordinator of minor league instruction, has moved up to farm director. John Stockstill remains as director of player personnel, but he will oversee international and domestic scouting.

Graham spent six years as the Pirates' farm director, and previously served as a coach with the Indians and Orioles.

"I've been fortunate to be a major league coach, a minor league manager at every level, to have been a coordinator and a farm director," Graham said. "I've been an interim GM for a major league team. But director of player development is the job I love."

The Orioles also hired former Red Sox farm director Kent Qualls as director of minor league operations. Qualls spent the past 10 years as director of the Dan Duquette Sports Academy in Hinsdale, Mass.

"Kent has a strong background in player personnel and he's been helping ballplayers in training programs for over 20 years," said Duquette, the Orioles' general manager. "He had excellent experience with the Expos and he went to the Red Sox and helped build a top-quality player development operation there. He's very good at team building and he's a good leader. Kent will be the organization's point person for all the affiliates. He'll also oversee the budget for the player development operation."

BIRD SEED

• The Orioles re-signed minor league free agent righthander Stu Pomeranz, who was designated for assignment on Nov. 30. Pomeranz is contemplating season-ending back surgery.

• Former major leauge pitcher Wilson Alvarez was hired as a GCL pitching coach.