Angels players to remain in Venezuela; coaching staff's contracts renewed for 2012
Despite the kidnapping of Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos from his home in Venezuela on Wednesday, new Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said Friday that the team has no intention of recalling the seven players from their organization who are playing in the Venezuelan winter league.
"You're always watching over your players to ensure their safety," Dipoto said. "Major League Baseball has programs in place to watch over players better than we can, and I'll defer to them in regard to how best to deal with the situation in Venezuela."
Among the seven Angels currently playing in Venezuela are right-hander Jerome Williams, who will be a strong rotation candidate in 2012, and top outfield prospects Jeremy Moore and Kole Calhoun. The others are infielders Alexi Amarista and Darwin Perez, outfielder Angel Castillo and pitcher Anthony Ortega, all natives of Venezuela.
Amarista's father was murdered last winter in an apparent home-invasion robbery attempt while Alexi was playing winter ball.
Dipoto has not been in contact with any of the players, "but our people are in contact with them with some frequency, and their agents are in contact with us," he said.
In other Angels news, Dipoto said that the contracts of all of the coaches on Manager Mike Scioscia's staff -- bench coach Rob Picciolo, hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, pitching coach Mike Butcher, first-base coach Alfredo Griffin, third-base coach Dino Ebel and bullpen coach Steve Soliz -- have been renewed for 2012.
Dipoto also confirmed the hiring of Arizona pro scout Tim Schmidt as a special-assignment scout and said former Angels shortstop Gary DiSarcina, a special assistant to former GM Tony Reagins, will "play a pivotal player development role" that is still being defined.
-- Mike DiGiovanna
Photo: Angels starting pitcher Jerome Williams delivers a pitch against the Oakland A's during a game in late September. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press