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.