Carolina notes: Minor moving up

Former Oriole big leaguer now managing in Frederick

Former Oriole Ryan Minor is in his first season as manager of the Keys. (Tony Farlow/

By Jeff Seidel / Special to | April 17, 2013 6:00 AM ET

Ryan Minor was one of the top Orioles prospects about 15 years ago. Many thought Minor might be the player to eventually replace Cal Ripken at third base.

Minor became a part of baseball history right after his Oriole debut when he replaced Ripken in the lineup the night the future Hall of Famer pulled himself out after playing a record 2,632 consecutive games. After that, Minor eventually played parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Minor's once again working his way through the Minor Leagues with the Orioles. The 39-year-old took over as Frederick's manager this season after serving as a coach and manager with Delmarva in the South Atlantic League the last five seasons.

Minor worked as the Shorebirds' hitting coach for two seasons and then became the manager from 2010-12. The new skipper said that's something which will help him at Frederick this season.

"For the most part, I've had a lot of those guys already," said Minor, referring to his time with Delmarva. "I enjoy it. I'm able to dabble in a lot of areas."

Minor said he likes working with the players and trying to help them make a difference as they move up. He wants to help the Orioles by developing prospects who can grow to be successful in the Majors.

"The [Orioles] put in a system we all have to follow," Minor said. "We want these guys to get better in the long run. We want these guys to be able to go up there and help [the Orioles] win."

Minor understands what it's like to be in the Majors since he played with the Orioles and Expos. He withstood a lot of pressure during his Minor League days as heir apparent to Ripken.

Dave Collins handled media relations and radio broadcasting for the Double-A Bowie Baysox when Minor played there in 1998. Collins remembers how well Minor handled himself at that point and isn't surprised that he's remained in baseball.

"He played with a lot of poise despite the fact that he was under a microscope in Bowie with the attention of the entire Baltimore-Washington media market focused squarely on him," Collins said. "[He] was a fine player and has certainly proven himself to be a fine baseball mind as well."

Minor made his Major League debut on Sept. 13, 1998. However, he found himself in the national spotlight just one week later when he replaced Ripken the night his consecutive games streak ended. It's now been almost 15 years since that happened, and the subject often comes up for discussion, sometimes with Minor's players .

"I was just able to be in the right place at the right time," Minor said. "[Maybe] they can be too at some point."

Minor was working his way to the Major Leagues at that point. He eventually made it for a short time, playing a total of 142 games over four years -- three seasons with the Orioles plus one with the Expos -- and Minor said he'd certainly like to return there as a coach or manager.

"I would like to get back to the big leagues at some point," Minor said. "But that's out of my hands. Hopefully I can do some [work] that people like."

In brief

Good start: Jerrud Sabourin has gotten off to a fast start for Carolina this season. The first baseman was hitting a league-best .438 (14-for-32) through nine games and ranks second in the league with a .538 on-base percentage.

Big hit: Jeremy Farrell's grand slam sparked a seven-run inning which helped Winston-Salem roll to a 15-2 victory over Carolina on Sunday. That was the Dash's first grand slam of 2013, and Farrell's second homer this season.

Getting on base: Potomac outfielder Billy Burns reached base in each of his team's first nine games, leading the league with a .581 on-base percentage. He's third in the league with a .419 average and has 13 hits plus a league-high 11 walks.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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