Baylor solely focused on helping Angels reach Series

Baylor solely focused on helping Angels reach Series

ANAHEIM -- Angels hitting coach Don Baylor, seven weeks away from his 66th birthday and 13 months removed from a broken leg, originally signed a two-year contract that will expire at the end of this season.

Baylor hasn't decided on his future beyond that -- but he has a very clear goal for this year.

"I want to get to the World Series as a coach again," Baylor said. "I care about this team a lot. That left a bad taste in my mouth last year, losing the way we did. I'd like to come back and go further than we did. I think a lot of guys felt the same way.

"Mike [Scioscia] has won a world championship here, and I'd like to win one, too."

As a player, Baylor reached the World Series with three teams in three years, with the Red Sox, Twins and A's, respectively, from 1986-88. He also got there as the Braves' hitting coach in 1999.

Baylor has also served as hitting coach for the Brewers (1990-91), Cardinals ('92), Mariners (2005), Rockies (2009-10) and D-backs (2011-13). He was the Rockies' first manager, from 1993-98, then the Cubs' skipper from 2000-02 and the Mets' bench coach the next two seasons.

At 65, he is the second-oldest hitting coach in the Majors, behind only 68-year-old Jeff Pentland of the Yankees. On the Angels, Baylor is the head of a staff basically composed of three hitting coaches, alongside assistant Dave Hansen and Paul Sorrento, who began the year as the Minor League hitting coordinator but has been helping the big league staff this season.

Sorrento was incorporated when Baylor fractured his right femur catching the ceremonial first pitch from Vladimir Guerrero on Opening Day last year and has stayed on.

"It really all comes down to communication," Hansen said. "It won't work without it. It seems to be working out well."

Baylor left the D-backs after the 2013 season because he couldn't pass up an opportunity to return to the Angels. He won the American League's Most Valuable Player Award here in 1979, makes his offseason home a couple of hours away from Angel Stadium, in La Quinta, and has always held a special place in his heart for the organization.

"I'm going to finish the job that I have right here," Baylor said, "then we'll see."

Worth noting
• Dino Ebel moved from bench coach to third-base coach on Thursday, filling in for regular third-base coach Gary DiSarcina, who was away from the team to attend a funeral. Ebel was the Angels' third-base coach from 2006-13.

• Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher doesn't anticipate any major adjustments from Jered Weaver, who takes the ball on Friday, saying: "I think it's similar to last year, as far as where he started off and where he ended at. He's on that same path right now and I think he's doing a great job. He had a great bullpen, and we're going to go from there.'

Matt Joyce, who entered the four-game series against the Astros with a .148 batting average, returned to the cleanup spot against Astros right-hander Collin McHugh for the first time in 17 days. Scioscia wanted to keep Kole Calhoun in the leadoff spot and wanted a left-handed bat behind Albert Pujols.

• Scioscia on Hank Conger, who returned to Angel Stadium as a visitor for the first time: "I don't know if we've seen a catcher who worked as hard as Hank did to get to be where he's a Major League receiver. He worked extremely hard. … We definitely understood the talent he brought. He played well for us. Hank turned himself into a receiver."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.