The Mota's- A Father & Son Coaching Combo

     It should be a fairly busy day for Manny Mota. For one thing he's assisting Bill Mueller as Bill moves into his new role as Dodger hitting coach. But he better keep a cell phone handy. It's Fathers' Day, after all, and when you have eight kids scattered about, it's sure to be ringing.

    One of those calls will be coming from the Dominican Republic  for that's where child No. 8 is hanging his hat these days. More particularly, he's paying papa the ultimate tribute by emulating him. For son Tony is a batting coach in his onw right.

    Tony's in his first year as the htting instructor for the Dodger entry in the Dominican Summer League. It's perhaps the most imprtant step he's taken down the road as he follows his father's path for it's keeping him in baseball just as Manny did when his playing career was ending.

    Tony was an outfielder just as Manny was and he wasted little time turning pro. In truth, Manny advised him not to when he was drafted by the Dodgers after graduating from Miami Springs High in 1995. Manny thought Tony should go to college before embarking on the game but you know how kids are- waiting is something they don't do well and Tony was impatient.

   So, he signed and went out to seek an eventual spot on the Dodgers. He came close when in 1999 he hit .325 with 15 home runs for San Antonio. That earned him a spot on the 40-man roster the next spring.

  But things never quite worked out for Tony after that. He got hurt and never did get a big league at-bat as he started drifting around in the game. While he's still young enough to play at age 29,  he summed up his chances, then grabbed the opportunity when the Dodgers asked him to become a coach.

  This spring he donned his new role at Dodgertown, getting his indoctrination before going over the island nation that his father stills calls home but which he only became acquainted with mostly through vacations. for he was born in California where Manny was playing for the Dodgers and grew up in the family's second home in Miami.

   Has he picked his father's brains. "Every chance I get," he admits with a laugh. And why not? Manny started coaching with the Dodgers in 1980 and he's still here working under his sixth manager now.

   So, is Tony working for the day when he can replace his father in L.A. ? "I don't think he ever plans to retire, " he answers with a laugh.

   Maybe someday they can be a father and son coaching duo. That would be the ultimate Fathers Day gift.

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