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Former Angel Washburn helping young hurlers

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- At 38 years old, the left-hander from Wisconsin looks like he could still win 10 games for the Halos, but Jarrod Washburn isn't in camp to try to crack the roster.

The 107-game winner is only back for a week, passing on some of his southpaw wisdom to the pitching prospects vying for a spot on the roster. Washburn went 75-57 from 1998-2004, pacing the club with an 18-6 record and a 3.15 ERA in 2002, when he started the first game of the Angels' World Series triumph.

"It's kind of nice if there's a lefty throwing a bullpen. Me and [Mark] Langston and [Mike] Hampton, we just kind of tag-team," Washburn said.

Langston is in his first year providing color commentary on the Angels' radio broadcasts, and Hampton is the new pitching coach for Double-A Arkansas. Together they have 48 seasons and 343 wins under their belts, but don't ask Washburn for insight on hot young pitchers.

"I don't know if I'm smart enough to [identify prospects]," Washburn said. "I'd be able to tell you, 'I like that guy,' but I don't know if I'd know his name. If I see his face, I'll tell you.

"[Jason] Vargas is great," Washburn said of the 14-game winner picked up from the Mariners to bolster the rotation, noting that the two crossed paths in Washburn's final season. "I love him. When I played in Seattle, I liked him a lot. That's going to be a nice, solid addition."

Washburn is playing his part in developing new talent, signing on as the head baseball coach for his alma mater, Webster High School in Webster, Wis., population about 643. He has been working with younger players in his hometown, and is poised to reap the rewards.

"Since I retired, I've been working with the youth program [in Webster], building it up," Washburn said. "The first grade I've worked with, they're eighth graders now, so they'll be in high school next year, and I figured with the talent level coming up, it just needs some stability in the program."

Asked if he was forging a path to a Major League managing job in the tradition of Walt Weiss, who parlayed a 20-6 record with Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo., last spring to a job managing this year's Rockies, Washburn laughed it off.

"You never know," Washburn said. "I doubt it."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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