Angels welcome Eckstein as guest instructor

Key member of 2002 title team looking forward to working with younger players

Angels welcome Eckstein as guest instructor

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A familiar figure in Angels lore was wearing the team's red jersey and making the rounds at camp Wednesday morning, as David Eckstein arrived for his stint as a special guest instructor at camp.

Eckstein, a key cog on the 2002 World Series championship Angels team who played in the Majors from 2001-10, said he especially looked forward to meeting some of the younger players in camp and over on the Minor League side. As a coach for the USA under-18 team for four years and a constant presence on the fields at his former high school, Seminole High in Sanford, Fla., Eckstein has gravitated toward helping younger players, and that was his goal as he arrived at Angels camp.

"The biggest thing I talk about is basically the mentality," Eckstein said. "I just want to talk to guys, especially the young guys, and see where their head's at and hopefully give them a tidbit or two that will help them be a little more successful in their own game."

Eckstein is the latest in a line of former players who have visited camp, including Scot Shields, Chuck Finley and Wally Joyner.

"These guys really have an influence on the younger guys just to let guys know that at one time they were on the same starting point and what the process might be," manager Mike Scioscia said. "When a guy like Eck or Chuck Finley or Wally talks to you as a young player, I think there's a certain sense of confidence that comes along with it. When you can ask them questions or they come to you and give you some insights, it helps."

Eckstein is best known for that remarkable 2002 Angels squad -- and, to think, it has been 15 years since that magical run.

"Time flies," Eckstein said.

Worth noting

Luis Valbuena, the corner infielder acquired this offseason, was back on the lineup card for the Angels' 7-4 loss to the Giants on Wednesday after being out since March 2 with leg soreness. He started at first base and went 1-for-3 at the plate.

Valbuena singles to left

• With four innings of relief, JC Ramirez continued to be stretched out to be a starter after he made 70 appearances as a reliever last year -- 43 with the Angels after being claimed off waivers from Cincinnati. Ramirez was very solid through his first three innings before being charged with four runs (three earned) in his fourth frame.

Ramirez K's Hundley

• It's safe to say Scioscia hasn't been waving the flag in support of the Netherlands team in the World Baseball Classic. Nothing against the Dutch. He just wants his shortstop back.

"We want to get Andrelton [Simmons] back as soon as we can," Scioscia said. "When your shortstop's missing, that impacts everything you do on the practice field, especially when you have a new second baseman."

Simmons, a native of Curacao, figures to be gone another week now that the Netherlands has advanced to the championship round next week in Los Angeles. When he returns, he'll have about a week to work with second baseman Danny Espinosa before the Angels break camp to head home for the Freeway Series.

• Outfielder Cameron Maybin was absent from camp Wednesday due to the death of his grandfather. He's expected back in camp Thursday, and Scioscia said he'll likely wait until the weekend to get him back into game action.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.