Former Halos catcher hopes to catch on as coach

Reporting from Tempe, Ariz. — That was a quick transition. Three days after officially announcing his retirement as a player, former Angels catcher Bengie Molina was in camp as a guest instructor Tuesday, a three-day gig he hopes might turn into something more long-term.

“I’m just trying to help as many kids as I can, and maybe it will be the beginning of something,” said Molina, who helped the Angels win the 2002 World Series. “Maybe in a couple of years I can come back and be a real coach.”

Molina, a fine defensive catcher who had a .274 average with 144 home runs over 13 years, last played in 2010, a season he split between the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers.

A hairline fracture in his left elbow hindered him at the plate, and his poor offensive numbers–he hit .249 with five homers and 36 RBIs in 118 games–scared off most clubs.

“It was a very big disappointment last winter,” Molina, 37, said. “My elbow bothered me all year–I couldn’t swing hard–but that didn’t matter. I was fine over the winter, but nobody came forward. The only offers I got were for minor league deals, so I just decided to go home.”