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Angels hire Omar Vizquel as minor league instructor

January 30, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Omar Vizquel with the Indians in 2000.
Omar Vizquel with the Indians in 2000. (Associated Press )

One of the greatest defensive shortstops in baseball history, a potential Hall of Famer with 24 years of big-league experience, will be in camp when the Angels begin spring training in two weeks.

As a coach.

The team has hired Omar Vizquel as its new roving infield instructor to succeed Dick Schofield, whose contract was not renewed after last season.

The Angels were in the final stages of the hiring process Tuesday and hadn’t made an official announcement when Vizquel, who aspires to be a major league manager some day, revealed the news at a speaking engagement in Akron, Ohio. The move was subsequently confirmed by the team.

Vizquel, a native of Venezuela, had 2,877 hits and batted .272 during a career that spanned four decades — he broke in with the Seattle Mariners in 1989. It included 11 seasons with Cleveland (1994-2004) in which he helped the Indians reach the playoffs four times and the World Series twice, in 1995 and 1997.

He won 11 gold glove awards, had a career .985 fielding percentage and committed just 183 errors, an average of less than eight a season, and had a hand in turning 1,734 double plays. Vizquel was 45 last season when he closed his career by playing in 60 games as a reserve infielder in Toronto.

Vizquel and Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto, a former reliever, were teammates in Cleveland in 2004.

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