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Omar Vizquel looks to build coaching chops with Angels

February 16, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Omar Vizquel bids farewell to the fans in Toronto in his final game last season. Now he's getting used to being a minor league coach for the Angels.
Omar Vizquel bids farewell to the fans in Toronto in his final game last season.… (Tom Szczerbowski / Getty…)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Omar Vizquel felt a little lost, a little out of place, as he walked into the Tempe Diablo Stadium clubhouse Saturday morning, his second day on the job as the Angels’ new roving minor league infield instructor.

“I’m trying to get used to it,” said Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glove Award winner who amassed 2,877 hits in 24 big-league seasons, his last as a 45-year-old utility infielder for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012. “I don’t know how to act like a coach. It’s a little weird.”

Vizquel, one of the top defensive shortstops in baseball history and a potential Hall of Famer, is embracing the discomfort because he believes it is the first step toward his ultimate goal of being a major league manager.

“This is what I know the most,” said Vizquel, a Cleveland Indians teammate of Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto in 1994. “I really enjoy wearing the uniform, communicating with the guys, how you can control 25 different personalities.

“It’s an amazing thing to be involved with so many people and to be the leader of the whole pack. For me, it comes naturally. I have the passion and the patience to go through the process.”

Vizquel made the quick transition from player to coach after a conversation with Angels minor league hitting coordinator and fellow Seattle resident Paul Sorrento, who mentioned the team had a minor league infield coaching opening after Gary DiSarcina left to manage the Boston Red Sox’s triple-A club.

Vizquel phoned assistant general manager Scott Servais about the job, Servais spoke to Dipoto, and Vizquel was hired in late January.

“Omar has an incredible amount of baseball knowledge,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “The fact that it’s Omar Vizquel talking to a young infielder, giving him insights and support to help them reach their potential, will have an impact .… No doubt, with his respect and the way he loved the game, he could be a manager.”

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