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Scioscia nearing mentor on manager wins list

Angels skipper honored for link with Lasorda (20th all-time)
MLB.com @mi_guardado

TORONTO -- Now in his 19th season as Angels manager, Mike Scioscia is accustomed to discussing the various accomplishments of his players, a frequent exercise for a man who oversees a roster that includes stars like Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Andrelton Simmons and Albert Pujols. But Scioscia isn't as eager to acknowledge his own triumphs, even though he's approaching a milestone that encapsulates the longevity and success he's enjoyed at the helm of the Angels.

With 1,597 career managerial victories, Scioscia enters Thursday only two shy from tying his mentor, Tommy Lasorda, for 20th on the all-time list. Despite their proximity on the leaderboard, Scioscia refuses to put himself in the same class as Lasorda, his former Dodgers manager who led the organization to two World Series titles during a Hall of Fame career.

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TORONTO -- Now in his 19th season as Angels manager, Mike Scioscia is accustomed to discussing the various accomplishments of his players, a frequent exercise for a man who oversees a roster that includes stars like Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Andrelton Simmons and Albert Pujols. But Scioscia isn't as eager to acknowledge his own triumphs, even though he's approaching a milestone that encapsulates the longevity and success he's enjoyed at the helm of the Angels.

With 1,597 career managerial victories, Scioscia enters Thursday only two shy from tying his mentor, Tommy Lasorda, for 20th on the all-time list. Despite their proximity on the leaderboard, Scioscia refuses to put himself in the same class as Lasorda, his former Dodgers manager who led the organization to two World Series titles during a Hall of Fame career.

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"What I've done, you really can't compare to Tommy," Scioscia said recently. "What Tommy did to the Dodgers' organization was really special. I certainly don't put myself in that boat. But having the opportunity to be here as long as I have is something that I do not take for granted."

Scioscia, 59, is the longest-tenured manager in baseball, but he's in the final season of the 10-year, $50 million contract he signed in January 2009. Scioscia and general manager Billy Eppler agreed to defer potential extension talks to the end of this season, creating some uncertainty about the manager's future with the organization, but Scioscia has already solidified his place as the most successful manager in Angels history.

Since taking over in 2000, Scioscia guided the club to its only World Series championship in '02 and six American League West titles. Despite the Angels' success under his tenure, Scioscia deflected much of the credit to the players, his coaching staff and ownership.

"I think it reflects on the quality of players we've had over the years here," Scioscia said. "I don't think it's anything special that I've accomplished. It speaks well for the organization that for a long time, we've had continuity, we've had good teams. At times, we've reached our goal, and at times, we haven't, but I think if you look at the overall strength of our teams, it's been great. You're getting a situation where a manager is able to put up some wins that are comparable to a lot of guys who have had the same opportunity, so I think it reflects on our organization. These are guys that everyone in our organization has an incredible amount of respect for, and I don't look at it as a personal accomplishment."

Scioscia said he spoke with Lasorda, 90, about three months ago and mentioned that he was getting close to catching him on the managerial wins list.

"I said, 'I'm hearing that I'm getting close to catching you,'" Scioscia recalled. "He said, 'When you do, I'll be proud of you.' He's supported me incredibly as a player, and I know he wants us to do well, but -- he's very quick to point out -- not as well as the Dodgers. He's made that very clear."

Video: Mike Scioscia wishes Tommy Lasorda Happy 90th

Worth noting
• Backup catcher Rene Rivera is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his inflamed right knee, Scioscia said. Rivera landed on the 10-day disabled list on Sunday, and the Angels do not have a timetable for his return.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels