Luis Sojo at the helm of Spanish national team

After Paco Figueroa was appointed as the Phillies outfield and baserunning coach of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Spanish national team was without a manager. But the Spanish baseball federation has found a successor who is more than capable. Former Major Leaguer Luis Sojo.

Luis Sojo as manager of Venezuela (photo: Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Sojo had a thirteen-year career that brought him to Toronto Blue Jays, California Angels, Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, and Pittsburgh Pirates. With the Yankees, he won four World Series titles.  Later, he joined the coaching staff of the Yankees and worked as minor league infield coordinator in the organization.

He used his coaching skills as he managed Venezuela during the 2006, 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics. In 2006, Sojo guided Venezuela to the second round in which they beat Puerto Rico 6-0 but fell to Cuba (7-2) and the Dominican Republic (2-1). In 2009 Venezuela made it to the semi-finals under the helm of Sojo but then fell to South Korea 10-2. In 2013, the team wasn’t nearly as successful. It did not survive the first round as it lost vs the Dominican Republic 9-3 and Puerto Rico 6-3. The only victory the team would get was vs Spain, the team that Sojo will now try to guide to the European Championship and an eventual Olympic ticket. In the inaugural Premier 12 tournament, Sojo was still at the helm of team Venezuela. The team had a disappointing 5th place finish in its group (B) with a 2-3 record, leaving only the Dominican Republic (0-5) behind them.  Overall in this tournament, Venezuela ended in tenth place.

A fun fact about Sojo is that he became the first player ever to manage a minor league team to a championship and later resume his Major League career.

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