You are a pretty intense Orioles fan if you remember Mendez. He played in just 26 games for the Orioles in a forgettable 2003, his only year in the majors. But I remember asking a group of players that season who they thought would go on to coach and almost to a man they named the affable Venezuelan. Mendez wasn't a strong defensive catcher and he didn¿t have the pop to be a first baseman, but he could hit -- a lifetime .297 average in 16 minor league seasons. His only call-up during that time was prompted because he was hitting .347 at Triple-A Ottawa in 2003. After he retired from baseball in 2007 with Atlanta's Triple-A club, the Braves immediately made him a coach. He was the hitting coach at Class-A Rome this year.
Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore Sun