The last time Don Baylor wore an Angels uniform, he was one of the game's best hitters.
When he dons the uniform again in spring training, though, it ought to be what he's done since he retired that attracts the attention of Angels players.
"The presence Don brings isn't that he played in the major leagues," Manager Mike Scioscia said Thursday. "That's a small part of it. It's what he's done as a manager and coach to continue to gain respect as a teacher. That's what's important."
Baylor, who got a two-year deal from the Angels this week to be their next hitting coach, brings a resume that includes 21 years as a major league manager or coach. That followed a 19-year playing career that included an MVP with the Angels in 1979 and three silver sluggers.
The Angels will be the seventh team to employ Baylor as hitting coach. He had a contract to return for a fourth season in the role with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but when the Angels called, he said it was "an opportunity I didn't want to slip through my fingers."
Baylor, 64, said he wanted to return to an organization where he enjoyed some of his best seasons as a player, and also to work with Scioscia.
"I haven't been there in a while, but I still have the same enthusiasm about the organization," Baylor said.
Baylor takes over for Jim Eppard, who was dismissed after 11/2 seasons. Hitting wasn't the Angels' problem as much as pitching was, but nonetheless General Manager Jerry Dipoto said the club needed different voices.
Baylor's voice is one that ought to carry some weight in the clubhouse.
"I just don't know if there's a guy that has as much respect as Don does of walking into a clubhouse or walking into a meeting with hitters and having everyone stand up and take notice of what he's saying," Scioscia said.
One of Baylor's most important pupils will be Josh Hamilton, who struggled for most of the first season of his five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge" of working with Hamilton, Baylor said. "I think he is a real key to the offense. ... We've just got to get him on that path to success he's had before. He has to recapture it again to work on his swing."
Baylor also hopes to help the Angels cut down on strikeouts. The Angels struck out 1,221 times, sixth most in the American League.
"I don't believe it's OK to strike out," Baylor said. "I don't harp on strikeouts, but that's not one of the things I condone. Guys think it's OK to strike out 120 or 130 times. That bothers me."
Baylor, who has spent parts of nine seasons as a major league manager, also figures to provide Scioscia with another experienced voice in the dugout and in meetings.
Baylor said he's interested in managing again if the opportunity arises, but he is not looking to become the next Angels manager.
"Mike will understand once he's around me that I'm a coach; I'm not trying to be a manager," Baylor said. "If he asks me things, I will tell him, but I'm working for him as a coach."
The Angels claimed left-handed reliever Robert Carson on waivers from the New York Mets. Carson, 24, has appeared in 31 games with a 6.82 ERA the past two years.
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