Orioles hire Datz as bench coach
Club officially parts ways with veteran infielder Mora
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles took care of some internal housekeeping issues on Thursday, when they announced the hiring of bench coach Jeff Datz and the official departure of Melvin Mora. Baltimore elected not to exercise the 2010 option in Mora's contract, making Brian Roberts the team's longest-tenured player.
Datz, who spent nearly two decades as a coach in Cleveland's organization, was the last man standing in an intensive two-week search to fill the position. Manager Dave Trembley said he started with a list of 40 candidates, but settled on Datz due to the coach's unique pedigree and widely varied field of experience.
"He can coordinate Spring Training," Trembley said. "He's been a bench coach and a catching guy. I like that Jeff was with one organization for a long time and that he's had a wide variety of experiences. He's a very loyal, trustworthy guy, and he's been a very meticulous professional at the Major League level for a long time.
Datz has spent the last three seasons as Cleveland's bench coach, and he also served as both first- and third-base coach during his eight-year stint with the Indians. Trembley said he first heard of Datz back in 2003, when pitching coach Dave Schuler told him that he'd be a great future coaching candidate to keep in mind.
"I started to do some some research on him, but our paths didn't cross until I was in the Major Leagues," he said. "We've done a very thorough background check on him, and I've talked to a lot of managers and a lot of guys he's worked with. He comes very highly recommended. I really wanted someone who had had some experience doing this at the Major League level, and Jeff is very excited about working with our catchers. Especially Matt Wieters."
Datz will be replacing outgoing bench coach Dave Jauss, with the rest of Trembley's staff remaining intact.
Mora, who arrived from the Mets in a 2000 trade for Mike Bordick, departs as a two-time All-Star. The veteran batted .280 and delivered 158 home runs with 662 RBIs in 1,256 games for Baltimore. Mora played in more games at third base (807) than all but one player in franchise history -- icon Brooks Robinson.
"Melvin had a very solid career as a Baltimore Oriole," said Trembley. "His numbers speak for themselves."
Baltimore also declined the option on backup catcher Chad Moeller's contract and elected to outright Jeff Fiorentino, Chris Lambert, Jim Miller and Guillermo Rodriguez to Triple-A Norfolk. Southpaw reliever Sean Henn was also removed from the 40-man roster by virtue of a waiver claim by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.