Angels coach Hansen to have expanded role in Baylor’s absence

Don Baylor was scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday to repair his fractured right femur.

Lisa Blumenfeld

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Following the team’s 10-3 loss to Seattle on Opening Night, members of the Angels coaching staff got together to check in on their injured cohort, hitting coach Don Baylor.

They sat in an office inside Angel Stadium and "passed the phone around." While they felt terribly about the state Baylor was in, Baylor’s concerns were elsewhere.

"He was great," assistant head coach Dave Hansen said. "We were sad as can be and he was great. He wanted to know about the game. (We said) ‘Don we miss you, man, we’re feeling for you.’

"He’s asking how our hitters did. Are you kidding me right now? That’s the kind of guy we’re dealing with. He’s probably strapped up on the bed there with his knee in a brace and he’s wondering how our boys did."

Baylor fractured his right femur while trying to catch the ceremonial first pitch just before the game on Monday. He was taken to UCI Medical Center where he had surgery on Tuesday.

A timetable for his return is unknown, but Scioscia knows Baylor is going to want to expedite the process.

"Knowing Don, he’s going to want to come on the next road trip," Scioscia said.

The shock of the injury inside the Angels clubhouse has yet to wear off.

"It kind of took a while to sink in," Scioscia said. "Ten minutes after it happens you’re in a game and you’re starting to think about everything that’s going to happen in a ballgame and then afterwards when you, kind of, reflect on it, it’s surreal and hopefully as Don feels more comfortable it’ll help us to absorb it and move on."  

Angels suddenly without their hitting coach

In the meantime, Hansen will take over an expanded role while Baylor is out. Hansen says his duties haven’t changed much with the exception of having to run meetings during Baylor’s absence. Hitting instructor Paul Sorrento has been called up to assist Hansen. Sorrento worked with Angels hitters during spring training and Scioscia believes he and Hansen will work well together.

All told, the presence of Baylor on a daily basis will not be able to be duplicated, Scioscia said. However, aside from that void, not much should change.