Randolph won't return in 2012

I've been dropping strong hints that Willie Randolph wouldn't return to the coaching staff in 2012. I received further confirmation earlier this afternoon.

It appears that manager Buck Showalter will need to fill two vacancies.

I heard recently that Randolph was exploring other opportunities. Naturally, he'd prefer to manage.

The Orioles hired Randolph to serve as bench coach, but he swapped places with third base coach John Russell. We were told that Russell's sore knee made it difficult for him to stand for long periods, and Showalter wanted him in the dugout with catcher Matt Wieters.

I also believe that Randolph was considered the better third base coach after Russell made some dubious sends earlier in the season.

It's not known whether Showalter will move Russell back to third base and hire another bench coach. My guess is he'd still prefer having Russell in the dugout.

Randolph's replacement must be able to work with the infielders. Mike Bordick qualifies and is held in high regard, but he's never coached third base.

Showalter also needs a bullpen coach unless pitching coach Rick Adair moves back onto that role. Either way, two hires must be made this winter.

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