Oquendo to serve as special assistant to GM

December 13th, 2016
Jose Oquendo will work out of the team's complex in Jupiter, Fla., where he will instruct Minor League players. (Getty)

ST. LOUIS -- Jose Oquendo, who vacated his role as the Cardinals' third-base coach in 2016 due to health issues, will soon be named a special assistant to general manager John Mozeliak, as part of Oquendo's transition to a new role within the organization. The Cardinals are expected to formally announce the move later this week.

As part of his new job description, Oquendo will work out of the team's complex in Jupiter, Fla., where he will assist with the instruction of Minor League players. The Cardinals have affiliates in the Florida State and Gulf Coast Leagues that train at the facility. It is also where players are sent for extended Spring Training or rehab work.

Mozeliak noted that Oquendo may even travel to the Dominican Republic periodically to help with instruction there.

"Jose is eager to get going," Mozeliak said. "The location is perfect."

After 16 seasons as the Cardinals' third-base coach, Oquendo voluntarily stepped away in 2016 so he could address chronic knee problems. The possibility of moving into a role that would allow him to reside in Florida year-round became more appealing to Oquendo after undergoing multiple surgeries.

Mozeliak noted that Oquendo is "very mobile" again, and will have a presence in Spring Training.

The Cardinals are particularly eager to have Oquendo, a well-respected infield instructor, work with 18-year-old Puerto Rican shortstop Delvin Perez, who was the Cardinals' top pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, and is their No. 5 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com.

Oquendo is also available to work with others who may want to spend time at the team's Florida complex during the offseason. Cardinals shortstop , who lives not far from that area, is among those expected to stop by for individualized work with Oquendo.

Oquendo served as a field instructor for the organization in 1997 before managing the New Jersey Cardinals of the New York-Penn League a year later. In 1999, Oquendo was named bench coach under Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa. A year later, he began his long tenure as the club's third-base and infield coach.

Prior to coaching, Oquendo played professionally for 17 seasons. That included two years with the Mets, and a run as the Cardinals' "Secret Weapon" from 1986-95, during which he played every position on the diamond.