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Omar López: A high-level helmsman

He will be the third driver of the national team in the demanding competition that will celebrate its fifth edition starting in March

The Venezuelan Baseball Federation made official the appointment of Omar López as manager of the National selection which will represent the country next year in the fifth edition of the World Classic, an event in which 20 countries will compete for the first time.

Venezuela, which occupies the sixth place in the ranking of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC, for its acronym in English), will play in Group D, from March 11 to 15, at IoanDepot Park in the city of Miami , along with the national teams of Israel, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and a representation to be defined from one of the tournaments, two qualifying tournaments that will be played in September.  

López will be the third manager of Venezuela in this event, Luis Sojo led the first three editions (2006, 2009 and 2013) and Omar Vizquel (2017). Our country's best performance in this event was in 2009, when it lost in the semifinals against South Korea.

“For me it is a dream to be here again,” said López, who was part of the coaching staff in 2017, via zoom from the United States. He assured that he is already working on choosing the personnel that will accompany him in this task.

The FVB meeting with media representatives had originally been scheduled for last week, but had to be canceled due to health problems of the entity's president, Aracelis León, who yesterday was accompanied by Luis Blasini, manager of the greater.

Read also: Omar López appointed manager of Venezuela

“In the last year we have carried out an interview process, in which we evaluated José Alguacil, Henry Blanco and Carlos Mendoza, but we favored Omar López because he has directed more than 1200 games and has been growing in all categories,” he pointed out. .

It is expected that in the next few days the names of the members of the coaching staff that will accompany López will be announced.

Before the end of the year, they must call for the pre-selection of at least forty players to choose the final list of 28 players.

Broad technical trade

López has been part of the Houston Astros coaching staff for three years, but has been part of it since 1999.

Born in Valencia, Carabobo state, on January 3, 1977, he turned professional at the age of 19, in 1996, with the Chicago White Sox, while in Venezuela he signed with the Navegantes del Magallanes and played seven games in the 1997-98 season. His minor league career | The United States lasted just three years, after two seasons in the Patiblancos system, he said goodbye playing eleven games in a class A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998.

23 years ago he began his career as a coach motivated by the late baseball executive Andrés Reiner, who first encouraged him in the evaluation and signing of talents. He then moves onto the field in Venezuela's rookie league as a hitting and infielding instructor. In a scout role, together with Alfredo Pedrique, he recommended the signing of José Altuve in July 2007.

Starting in 2008, he ventured into the strategic aspect of the game when he was appointed manager for the first time. His first experience was with the Astros affiliate in the Venezuelan Summer League. Then he directs the rookie branch of the Gulf Coast League in the United States during the 2009 and 2010 editions. From there he goes to Greeneville (2011-12), Quad Cities (2013-14, 2016), Lancaster (2015), Blues Creek (2017) and ends the internship as manager in minor leagues in double A, with Corpus Christi Hooks (2018-19). In 2018 he was named the Texas League Manager of the Year.

The Astros' 2022 Media Guide highlights that in 2013 Lopez was a class A Midwest League champion manager with the Quad Cities club. He then had a payroll of which 16 members reached the Major Leagues, in which Puerto Rican shortstop Calos Correa and pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. stood out.

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