Let the record show Omar Vizquel's coaching career began because of a poker game.

"I saw (Angels minor-league hitting coordinator) Paul Sorrento at a party in Seattle," Vizquel, the Angels' new roving infield instructor, said Thursday.

"Edgar Martinez was putting together a poker game. I saw him there, started talking to him a little bit about what he's doing. He told me he's working for the Angels. They were talking about looking for an infielder guy. I said, `Well, I must be the guy.'

"So I got in touch with (assistant Angels GM) Scott Servais. Scott gave (general manager) Jerry Dipoto a call. I also played with Jerry in Cleveland. He knows me from those years. The communication was really quick. We put it together and I was here two days later."

The 45-year-old shortstop retired last year as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays after playing his 24th major-league season. Although he's long held the notion of becoming a major-league manager, a part of Vizquel doesn't seem ready to let go of his storied playing career.

Navigating the Angels' clubhouse, Vizquel wears his hat backward like a young Ken Griffey Jr.; the two were rookies on the 1989 Seattle Mariners. When he isn't navigating the clubhouse, Vizquel can be found exercising as if he's gearing up for a 25th season.

"I still go through my program," he said. "Not as intense as it was before but I want to keep in shape."

When Angels manager Mike Scioscia made the transition from player to coach in the 1990s, he encountered a number of challenges. The hardest, he said, was evaluating raw prospects after being in the majors for so long. "I remember saying, `God, can anybody play?"'