CLEVELAND – To hear manager Ozzie Guillen insisting that Omar Vizquel is the best player to ever come out of Venezuela is flattering for the veteran shortstop.
“Those are really strong words to say,” Vizquel said of Guillen’s assessment.
But that’s not all Vizquel commented on before Tuesday’s game, stating that after almost 22 seasons, 2010 was looking like his final one.
Coming off the bench the past two years as a utility player has mentally beaten the 43-year-old up, enough so that he doesn’t see himself going through another season in this role.
“It’s hard to play in the role that I am when you’re used to playing every day,” Vizquel insisted. “It’s hard preparation, sometimes you feel disappointed, sometimes you’re sad. Your mental process is different. You take different ways to prepare and I don’t know if I can do it another year. I could probably do it because physically I feel pretty good, but mentally it takes a toll on your body. It makes you doubt sometimes. I don’t think I want to go through that process again.”
The only way he feels like his mind will change?
“I have to finish this season pretty strong, and if I feel like I finish the way I really want to I might give it a thought to go another year,” Vizquel added.
The problem is he likely won’t be given a real opportunity to finish strong, at least not on his mind, playing sparingly like he has.
As far as Guillen’s comments, well Vizquel didn’t know if he agreed with his fellow countryman, but he was thankful.
“There are a lot of great players coming from our country in different ways – great fielders, great hitters, great pitchers,” Vizquel said. “I feel very small here in this game hearing him say those words, but it made me feel really proud.”