After serving as Bowie’s manager for eight years, Gary Kendall received a promotion when he was elevated to manage Triple-A Norfolk. The 55-year-old Kendall, who is in his 20th season in the Orioles’ organization, led the Baysox to the Eastern League title in 2015.
Kendall, who never played professionally, is a Baltimore native and has also managed Orioles short-season teams in Aberdeen and Bluefield, and Low-A Delmarva.
He succeeds Ron Johnson, who left the organization in October after seven seasons as Norfolk’s manager.
The Orioles haven’t announced the rest of the minor league staffs, but Buck Britton, who made his managerial debut last season with the Shorebirds, is expected to move up from Delmarva to Bowie.
Alan Mills, who was the Orioles’ bullpen coach for the past two seasons, is expected to manage Gulf Coast.
There are other minor league vacancies that need to be filled. Jose Hernandez, who was Johnson’s longtime field coach with the Tides, was promoted to Brandon Hyde’s staff with the Orioles.
Blaine Beatty, who was Class-A Frederick’s pitching coach last season, was let go after the season.
Ryan Minor, who managed the Keys last season, could return. Managers for Delmarva and Aberdeen also need to be named.
This week, the Orioles hired Harford Community College coach Tom Eller as a minor league hitting coach. He’s expected to be assigned to the IronBirds.
Orioles add another catcher
The Orioles signed catcher Jesus Sucre to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.
Sucre is a .223 lifetime hitter in 223 major league games over six seasons with Seattle and Tampa Bay.
Last season, Sucre hit .209 in 73 games with the Rays. He hit a home run and had 17 RBIs.
According to USA Today, the 30-year-old Sucre can exercise an opt-out on March 22 if he’s not added to the 40-man roster by then.
Sucre has thrown out 32 percent of the runners attempting to steal against him.
He’ll join five other catchers on Feb. 12, when pitchers and catchers report. Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns are on the 40-man roster. Sucre, newly signed Carlos Perez, Andrew Susac and Martin Cervenka, who played for Bowie last year, also will be on hand.
Sucre’s signing gives the Orioles 59 players in camp.
He has pitched in five games in the majors. The most recent came on July 27 when he pitched to three batters in the eighth inning of a 15-5 Orioles win against Tampa Bay.
Sucre allowed a single to Wynns, then retired Tim Beckham and Jonathan Schoop.