White Sox name Omar Vizquel manager at Winston-Salem

Tuesday, 05 December 2017, 07:34:39 AM. Omar Vizquel will take over for Willie Harris as manager of the White Sox' Class A team at Winston-Salem

When his lengthy, stellar playing career was winding down, Hall of Fame candidate Omar Vizquel knew he wanted to manage in the major leagues. A first step toward that goal became official Monday when the White Sox announced that he’ll manage their Class A team at Winston-Salem in 2018.

Vizquel, 50, who spent the previous four seasons as the Tigers first base, infield and baserunning coach, replaces Willie Harris – who is leaving for a managing job with another organization.

“Yes no doubt,’’ Vizquel said of his goal. “The manager has a lot of responsibility … and I think I have what it takes to be a successful manager. You have to go through the ropes, you’ve got to learn the process. I was really glad I was in the big leagues with a great staff with the Detroit Tigers. I had the opportunity to share a lot of positive and negative things there and I think that’s just the preparation to the journey I have to do to make it to the big leagues.”

Vizquel’s only managerial experience was for Venezuela during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. At Winston-Salem, his emphasis will be on player development at an important level of the Sox’ system.

Chicago White Sox shortstop Omar Vizquel watches practice on an adjacent field during baseball spring training practice Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan) ORG XMIT: AZMD103

“He has a wealth of experience and knowledge gained through an impressively lengthy baseball career,’’ said Chris Getz, the Sox director of player development. “Omar is passionate about teaching the game.’’

Vizquel appeared in 2,968 games over 24 major-league seasons with the Mariners (1989-93), Indians (1994-2004), Giants (2005-08), Rangers (2009), White Sox (2010-11) and Blue Jays (2012).

The Caracas, Venezuela native batted .272 (2,788 hits) and was an 11-time Gold Glove Award winner at shortstop. Last month, he becamse a first-time candidate for the Hall of Fame.

Vizquel owns the second-highest career fielding percentage (.985) all-time among shortstops (minimum 1,000 games played), ranks first in career games played as a shortstop (2,709) and ranks among major-league all-time leaders in games played (12th) and at-bats (17th).

“You never believe you will be involved in these situations but it’s great,’’ he said. “I think I had a very good career and it’s awesome to hear everybody talking about your game and what you did in the big leagues. It’s an amazing thing.’’

Vizquel, who is bilingual, believes his strong suit as a manager and instructor will be clear, honest communication with players. Prospects often have doubts about what it takes to become major leaguers, he said, and they “need to understand where they are coming from and what is the process that needs to be taking place” to get to the next level, he said.

“Let them know right away what you want to accomplish,’’ he said. “It makes their job easier.’’

Vizquel’s hiring was first reported on Nov. 20. The Sox’ remaining player development staff and assignments will be announced at a later date.

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