Angels' Vizquel makes transition to coach

Omar Vizquel is making the transition from player to coach as the Angels' roving minor league infield instructor.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Mike Scioscia has “no doubt” that former shortstop Omar Vizquel, a 24-year big-league veteran, has the potential to be a major league manager. But for Vizquel to be successful in his first step toward that goal, as the Angels’ roving minor league infield instructor, he’ll have to adjust his perspective when it comes to player evaluation.

Scioscia, the former Dodgers catcher, made a similar transition from major league player to minor league coach when, after his 15-year playing career, he became the Dodgers’ minor league catching coordinator in 1995.

“Omar has looked at nothing but major league players for more than 20 years, and I did the same thing for 15 years,” Scioscia said. “When I went back to instructing in the minor leagues I remember saying, ‘God, can anybody play?’

“The first field I went down to in instructional league, Chico Fernandez was our infield coach with the Dodgers, and he said, ‘Mike, who do you like?’ I said, ‘Nobody.’ You’re just seeing the raw talent. But you know who was on that field that day? Adrian Beltre and Paul Konerko.

“As these kids start to get a little separation from being teenagers and you see that growth and that stone getting polished, then you go, ‘Wow.’ It’s almost that culture shock of going down and seeing an 18-year-old when you’ve only seen 28-year-old All-Star caliber players in the major leagues. The first thing you have to do is hone your evaluation and projection skills of what a player can be.”

-Mike DiGiovanna

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