Baylor open to coaching in 2016

Baylor open to coaching in 2016

ANAHEIM -- Don Baylor, 66 years old and still feeling the effects of a debilitating injury he sustained 17 months ago, is receptive to the possibility of returning as the Angels' hitting coach in 2016.

"I'm open to that," said Baylor, whose two-year contract is set to expire at season's end. "This is where I've wanted to be. I should've been here a lot sooner."

Baylor, who in 1979 became the first Angels player to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award, joined Mike Scioscia's coaching staff for the start of the 2014 season, after a 19-year career as a Major League player and 21 seasons in a managerial or coaching capacity.

On Opening Day 2014, though, Baylor broke his right thigh bone while awkwardly reaching to catch the ceremonial first pitch thrown by Vladimir Guerrero, an ailment that kept him away from the team until late June. The injury and impending surgical procedure still greatly impacts Baylor's mobility, but he built a reputation as one of the toughest, grittiest players in the game throughout the 1970s and '80s.

He's the last one to complain about his injured leg.

"It's coming along, getting stronger," Baylor, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2003, said with a smile.

"Donny's been a huge part of the last couple years," Scioscia added, "but we're focused on these last 20 games and then all of us will just kind of see where things are as we get through the season. But Donny's just a great leader. He just keeps working hard."

The Angels face a lot of uncertainty because they'll likely bring in a new general manager who could have some say on the makeup of the Major League coaching staff. Baylor will also have to decide whether he's still willing and able to go through the grind of a 162-game season.

If he isn't on the coaching staff, Angels owner Arte Moreno would probably still like to have him involved in the organization in some capacity, perhaps as a special assistant.

Baylor sounds like he still has a desire to coach, though.

"Yeah," Baylor said Saturday. "I'm an Angel. That's why I wanted to come back here and be a part of this organization. That's up to Mike. Mike's still the manager, the general manager is gone. There's a lot of things that Mike probably has to do, and upstairs they have to do, before next season. They have some things to do, and I'm just a small piece of that."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.