An unfortunate incident kicked off the Angels’ season on Monday. Hitting coach Don Baylor suffered a fractured right femur while catching the first pitch from Vladimir Guerrero, who signed a one-day contract to officially end his career with the Angels, and had to be helped off the field.
He’s slated to undergo surgery Tuesday.
Guerrero seemed to initially think Baylor was kidding around after catching the pitch and laughing as he ran towards the plate, only to realize once he got there that Baylor was in some serious pain. Guerrero helped him to his feet, but it didn’t take and he needed extra assistance.
Baylor was working his first game as the Angels’ hitting coach, having been hired last October. He had previously served as the hitting coach in Seattle, Colorado and Arizona following managerial stints with the Rockies and Cubs. In 2003, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer that attacks plasma cells in bone marrow.
Baylor, 64, played 19 season in the majors in a career that ended in 1988. He won the 1979 AL MVP award as a member of the Angels after hitting .296/.371/.530 with 36 homers and a league-leading 139 RBI.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.