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Sandy Koufax's return to Dodgers applauded by former teammates

January 23, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Tom Lasorda and Sandy Koufax, shown in 2008, will be together again as special advisors to Dodgers chairman Mark Walter.
Tom Lasorda and Sandy Koufax, shown in 2008, will be together again as special… (Los Angeles Times )

Tom Lasorda and Maury Wills applauded the Dodgers’ hiring of former teammate Sandy Koufax, who will be a special advisor to Chairman Mark Walter.

“I think it’s great,” Lasorda said. “Having Sandy here is always a great move. He’s very popular and one of the greatest pitchers that ever wore a Dodgers uniform.”

Lasorda, a Hall of Fame manager, is one of three other special advisors to Walter. Former pitcher Don Newcombe and Dr. Frank Jobe also share the same title.

As part of his duties, Koufax will work with pitchers at spring training.

“If anybody knows anything about pitching, it’s him,” Lasorda said. “He’ll certainly be very helpful. He’s a Hall of Famer, a great, great pitcher.”

Wills, a former base-stealing king and spring training instructor, said he was “ecstatic” about the move.

“I think it’s wonderful on both parts – on Sandy’s part and on the ballclub’s part,” Wills said.

Koufax hasn’t worked with the Dodgers in an official capacity since 1989.

“He’s had his reasons” for staying away, Wills said. “I can respect that.”

For Koufax's sake, Wills is glad he is over whatever kept him away.

“I’m just tickled for Sandy that he’s back,” Wills said.

Wills said that working with the Dodgers has brought him fulfillment late in life. He hopes the 77-year-old Koufax will have a similar experience.

Koufax has visited the Dodgers camp in recent years, but only for a couple of days at a time. He is expected to be there longer this year.

Of coaching, Wills said, “I get the sense that he misses it.”

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