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.