Dodgers Gain One, Lose One

Vizcaino, the 18-year major-league infielder, a product of the Dodgers' academy in his native Dominican Republic, will serve as a special assistant to general manager Ned Colletti. And at nearly the same time, Dave Collins, manager of the Inland Empire sixty-Sixers in 2007, resigned due to family reasons.

Vizcaino, 39, will work on special projects in baseball operations and also will serve as an on-field instructor during spring training. He also will instruct at the club's facility in the Dominican.

?"I'm very happy to be back with the organization that I grew up with," Vizcaino said in an official news release issued by the club. "I hope to help the team win in any way that I can, and I'm looking forward to the 2008 season."

The Dominican Republic native came up through the Dodgers' farm system, playing at Campo Las Palmas in the 1980s after being signed out of his hometown in San Cristobal. He made his Major League debut on Sept. 10, 1989 as the second-youngest player in the National League that season and also played for Los Angeles in 1990 before moving on to a productive career with the Cubs, Mets, Indians, and Giants.

  He returned to the Dodgers in 1998 and played with the club through 2000, when he was traded to the New York Yankees and helped them to a World Championship. Vizcaino played for the Houston Astros from 2001-05 before finishing his career with the Giants and Cardinals in 2006.

During his 18-year big league career, the switch-hitting Vizcaino posted a .270 batting average with 36 home runs, 480 runs batted in and 74 stolen bases. He played primarily as a shortstop but appeared at all four infield positions and left field, compiling a .976 lifetime fielding percentage.

?Vizcaino played for San Francisco in 1997, when Colletti was the Giants' assistant GM.

?"Jose brings in a wealth of experience and knowledge with him that will be a great asset to the Dodgers," Colletti said in the release. "Everyone in baseball has the utmost respect for Jose because of his character and his dedication to the game, and we're excited that he is returning to the Dodger organization."

?Vizcaino appeared in the postseason six times, including the 2005 World Series with the Houston Astros and the 2000 Fall Classic, in which his game-winning single in the 12th inning of Game 1 ended the longest game in World Series history and propelled the Yankees to a title in five games over the Mets.  

Collins Resigns
The Dodgers announced their second unexpected staff change of the week on Wednesday, when Class A manager Dave Collins resigned due to family reasons.

Inland Empire hitting coach and former Red Sox infielder John Valentin was promoted to replace Collins, and former Dodgers outfielder Henry Cruz, who served as Rookie-level Ogden's hitting coach last season, will move up to serve in the same capacity for the 66ers.

Earlier this week, Major League batting coach Don Mattingly stepped aside for family reasons and was reassigned as a special assignment coach. Triple-A batting coach Mike Easler was promoted to replace Mattingly. Assistant general manager De Jon Watson has said he will hire a replacement for Easler from outside the organization.

Collins, 55, joined the Dodgers a year ago and managed Inland Empire to a 72-67 overall record, finishing in a tie for the first-half lead and reaching the playoffs with a wild-card berth. Players from that squad that participated in the recent prospect minicamp were James McDonald, Corey Wade, Blake DeWitt, Lucas May, Josh Bell, Mario Alvarez, Ramon Troncoso and Ivan DeJesus.

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