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Orioles hire Jeff Manto as minor league hitting coordinator

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One time Orioles fan favorite returns to the organization in which he enjoyed his best professional season

USA TODAY Sports

In a minor surprise, the Orioles have announced the hiring of Jeff Manto as minor league hitting coordinator this afternoon. Manto will replace Mike Boulanger who was hired for the same role in 2012. Boulanger will remain in the organization to handle some professional and amateur scouting duties.

Manto is no stranger to the organization, having played 89 games as a corner infielder and DH for the O's in 1995. He is probably best remembered for a super hot June that year in which he hit nine homers with five coming in a three game stretch from June 8-10 and slugged .626 (Matt Taylor's Roar from 34 blog did a nice write up of Manto's 1995 exploits which I recommend). Manto wound up of hitting 17 of his 31 career homers for the 1995 Orioles. He hung around the league until 2000, even logging time for the World Series bound Indians of 1997 and Yankees of 1999, but never made a postseason roster.

After serving two seasons as White Sox hitting coach, Manto was dismissed in September. He previously served as Pittsburgh's major league hitting coach for the 2006 and 2007 seasons and as the minor league hitting coordinator for the White Sox. Manto also served in the Phillies organization as a scout, instructor and manager.

Can Manto teach the youngsters to take a walk? Find the next Jose Bautista? One hopes.