Vizquel joining Tigers as first base coach
Add another former Major Leaguer to Brad Ausmus’ coaching staff in Detroit, and a nice get for the Tigers. Omar Vizquel will be Ausmus’ first base and infield coach. Venezuelan media first reported the move, which was later confirmed by MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez.
Add Vizquel to the hirings of hitting coach Wally Joyner and bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer, and the core of the Tigers coaching staff is essentially set. It’s not clear yet whether they’ll have a second hitting coach again, but if they do, that’s a position yet to be filled.
It’ll be Vizquel’s first post as a big league coach, but his resume gives him instant credibility. He played 24 years in the Majors before retiring in 2012. In those 24 seasons, he won 11 Gold Gloves and three All-Star selections. He played more games at shortstop than anyone in Major League history, and his .985 fielding percentage there ranks second all-time, according to baseball-reference.
The move is a boon for Jose Iglesias, who will take over as Detroit’s full-time shortstop next season.
The 46-year-old Vizquel spent this past season as a roving infield instructor in the Angels organization. When the Angels hired him, Mike Scioscia reportedly said he had no doubt that Vizquel had the potential to manage in the big leagues one day.
Vizquel also was an underrated baserunner, stealing 404 bases in his career. He also was caught 167 times, but there was an aggressiveness to his game.