BALTIMORE — Einar Diaz and his brother Lino have enjoyed an opportunity this week they never had as players.
Just as they did last season, the two have spent the past three days catching up at a major league ballpark.
The White Sox manager of cultural development, Lino Diaz played five seasons in the minors, but his career was cut short by injuries. Younger brother Einar, who is Baltimore’s assistant hitting coach, spent 11 seasons in the majors and played for five teams.
Though Lino Diaz never made it higher than Triple-A, his younger brother said it wasn’t for a lack of talent. Though it's not the way they first imagined meeting in the majors, both brothers have enjoyed the experience.
“When he was playing, he could hit a little bit,” Einar Diaz said. “He could hit a little bit, but he got hurt. He had surgery in both knees. But he got back in business later with Cincinnati and the Royals and Cleveland. It’s nice to see him around here with the big league team.”
The two live five minutes apart from each other in Parrish, Fla., in the offseason. While Einar Diaz has the more noticeable resume because of his big league experience, Lino, who is two years older, is just as accomplished. Lino Diaz was Panama’s general manager for the 2013 World Baseball Classic after he spent 11 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, working as a cultural development coordinator, a pro scout and as the director of Latin American operations, overseeing player development and scouting. He also managed for the Gulf Coast League Royals and Reds when he retired from playing in 1998.
In his current role, Lino Diaz assists the coaching staff by acting as a translator with Spanish-speaking players. White Sox manager Robin Ventura has said he leans on Diaz to get his message across properly and thinks Diaz’s background as a player is significant.
Einar Diaz agrees.
“It’s nice, and for him it’s really a big thing,” Einar Diaz said. “That helps a lot of Latin players if you don’t know (English). That helps a lot of people. Sometimes it’s tough because the player is tough and you’ve got to find a way to get to the player.”
While the two have mostly exchanged pleasantries and just hung out this week, they do talk about coaching in the offseason. But just because they’re in opposite dugouts doesn’t detract from their major league experience.
“It’s an awesome experience,” Lino Diaz said. “We kind of experienced it a little bit in the minor leagues too, playing at different levels. It was always great to see him, and now at this level it’s an incredible experience. It’s good to have him on the other side. To have a chance to talk to him before and after games is awesome.”