Omar Vizquel returns to White Sox
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Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop, was used mostly at third base in his first season with the White Sox, batting .276 with 2 home runs and 30 RBIs. Vizquel, a switch-hitter, batted .290 against right-handers.
In September, Vizquel passed Rafael Palmeiro, playing the most games (2,832) of any foreign-born player. He finished the season with 2,850 games played. He also has 2,799 career hits in 21 seasons.
Vizquel made 62 starts at third, 19 at second, eight at shortstop and one as the designated hitter while batting .276. And he expects to be in a backup role next season.
"I was pretty excited about my year, and that's why I decided to play another year," he said during a conference call.
"I'm clear with my situation," Vizquel said. "I know that my job is going to be the same thing again, be a backup player, but it's OK to me. I'm satisfied with my year. I was pretty happy about it. Whatever happens next year, I'm going to take it in and enjoy it just like it's going to be my last year again."
A three-time AL All-Star, Vizquel was surprised by how well he held up last season.
"There wasn't any kind of wear and tear," he said. "I was surprised that I could play as much as I did, and my body just responded awesome. I never had a week where I said, 'Oh my God, here it comes again' or 'I feel bad' or anything. I think the challenge was great, and the way that I prepared myself in the offseason was awesome."
Vizquel is a career .273 hitter in 2,850 games with Seattle (1989-1993), Cleveland (1994-2004), San Francisco (2005-08), Texas (2009) and the White Sox.
"It's hard to believe through all these years and talking about playing so many games I look back on my career and it looks like I just started playing five years ago," Vizquel said after he set the record on Sept. 6. "All of a sudden you find yourself with a lot of games on you, a lot of hits, a lot of records and I'm feeling very proud because I never thought I'd be in the big leagues for this long. And it's been a very great road for me.
"Each year was a different challenge and I take pride because you never know what could happen to you, or an injury or you can't rebound and play again. So it takes a lot of hours and experience to know your body to be in the place that I am today."
Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.