It was back on March 27 that Jose Oquendo was granted a medical leave of absence by the St. Louis Cardinals in order to rehab his surgically repaired right knee. It was said at that time he would be out for the “foreseeable future” and today everyone found out just what that meant.
Oquendo announced that he was going to have his right knee replaced and will not return to the coaching ranks this season. The 52-year old has been on the Cardinals major league staff since 1999 and the last 16 in the third-base coaching box.
“I was hoping I didn’t have to go through that, but it is what it is,” Oquendo said on Saturday, while visiting with players in the Cardinals’ clubhouse. As far as returning to his current job next season, he wasn’t quite sure saying, “”We’ll see what the plan is later. I’m probably going to stay in baseball somehow in whatever capacity that is. Teaching is in my blood, and I love my teaching no matter what level it is, here or there. It’s fun to teach guys and see the improvement and see the progress.”
A veteran big league infielder, the Puerto Rico native spent his first two seasons with the New York Mets before being traded to the Cardinals on April 2, 1985 where he would play the rest of his 12 year career eventually making the transition into coaching where his name would pop up from time to time as a managerial candidate around the majors. He never did land the big chair, but he did manage the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic teams from Puerto Rico.
According to the Cardinals website, bench coach David Bell and first-base coach Bill Mueller will serve as infield instructors on Oquendo’s absence.
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