TEMPE, Ariz. — A second player from the Angels’ 2002 World Series championship team has joined the head coaching ranks, though not quite at the level of Darin Erstad, who is in his second season at the University of Nebraska.
Jarrod Washburn, the ace of the Angels’ title team, recently took over as the baseball coach at Webster High School, the left-hander’s alma mater in the tiny Wisconsin town (population 643) he grew up in.
“They’ve had four coaches in the last four years,” said Washburn, who is in Angels camp this week as a guest instructor. “Since I retired, I’ve been working with the youth program, and the first kids I began working with are in eighth grade now. I thought they needed some stability in the program.”
Washburn, now 38, retired after a 2009 season in which he went a combined 9-9 with a 3.78 earned run average for the Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers. He spent his first eight seasons in Anaheim, going 75-57 with a 3.93 ERA, including an 18-6 record and 3.15 ERA in 2002.
Working with some of the younger and less-refined pitching prospects in camp and during exhibition games this week should give Washburn a taste of what high school coaching will be like.
“It’s hard being a coach now — I have to watch all nine innings,” Washburn said. “I didn’t have to do that when I was in spring training. But I also remember being a kid and unable to throw strikes. When you go 1-0 and 2-0 on every batter, the game can drag on.”