When the Angels added him to their 40-man roster and flew him in from Triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday, it was Buckner’s first major-league opportunity in three years. The last go-around didn’t end well – he pitched four innings and allowed seven runs in each of his final two games with the Kansas City Royals in May 2010 – and it’s been a long road back. The Angels are his fourth organization since then.
Just a year ago, he was a free agent coming off surgery to remove bone spurs in his right (pitching elbow). He signed a minor-league deal with the Boston Red Sox and began the season with Double-A Portland (Maine) of the Eastern League.
“They gave me a chance to come back and pitch,” Buckner said.
The Angels’ unfortunate reality — a pitcher who just last year was in Double-A is being counted on to stabilize the pitching staff — is Buckner’s great fortune. As is his collection of Bill Buckner swag.
• Happy birthday to former Angel (Pirate, Devil Ray, Diamondback, Red, Athletic, National, Mariner, Royal and Giant) Jose Guillen.
• Among the replay options being considered by MLB: A fifth umpire on-site in a replay booth, a central replay facility similar to the NHL, a communication device worn by on-field umpires that would alert them when plays need to be reviewed, and challenge flags.
• I can’t read lips in Korean, but I’m pretty sure the first baseman in this video is telling the batter-runner, “Wanna get away?”
• If you have a lot of time to kill, this piece on turn-of-the-century Cuban star Alfredo Cabrera is worth it.
• On this day in 1905: Waseda University of Tokyo defeats Los Angeles High School 5-3 in the first game of an American tour. It is the first baseball game ever played by Japanese outside Japan. Waseda started a powerhouse tradition at Japan’s Big Six universities that continues to this day.”
• Somewhere between their GAP-pop, “If I Ever Feel Better” period, and the arena-pop deluge on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the band Phoenix decided to pause on the banks of something remotely sophisticated: “Run Run Run.”