The Angels closed ranks to honor one of their own Thursday morning, holding a private memorial service in Angel Stadium for Nick Adenhart, the 22-year-old pitcher who was killed in an April 9 traffic crash.
Jack Grogger, the team's chapel leader, presided over the 45-minute service, which was held around home plate. In attendance were Angels players, coaches, front-office employees and the team's broadcasters.
Pitchers Dustin Moseley and Shane Loux, both teammates of Adenhart's at triple-A Salt Lake last season, General Manager Tony Reagins and several coaches spoke at the service, which some said was therapeutic for a team struggling to cope with the tragedy.
"It was really good; it provided closure for all of us, especially the guys who couldn't go to his funeral [last week]," Moseley said.
"I think after today, it will become a little easier for us, where we don't bring it onto the field. But that's part of the grieving process. You start thinking about stuff you haven't thought about before."
After the service, they had lunch in the Diamond Club.
"There was a little laughter, people told stories about Nick, it was pretty cool," center fielder Torii Hunter said. "It was good to talk about it. It seems like there was a little closure there."
Adenhart was the Angels' most promising young pitcher, as he showed when he threw six shutout innings against Oakland only hours before he was killed. But Moseley said the focus was more on Adenhart the friend and teammate.
"The humor, the abilities Nick had were brought up today," Moseley said. "That's what we were thinking about. He was a leader, the life of a social environment. People were drawn to him."
Darren Oliver, who was put on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday night because of a strained left triceps, said his arm began to tighten up in the fourth inning of his emergency start against the Twins on Saturday.
"It feels like a charley horse in my triceps," said Oliver, who gave up one run and five hits in four innings and threw 62 pitches. "I think I might have overextended myself Saturday. But this is better than having a shoulder or an elbow problem."
The left-hander, who is the seventh Angels player and sixth pitcher to go on the DL this season, is confident he will be able to return when he is eligible to be activated on May 4. When he comes off the DL, he will return to the bullpen.
When Scot Shields has struggled in the past, the Angels would usually shut down the reliever for four or five days and have him throw a power bullpen session or two to iron out his delivery.
But with so many injuries and so much inexperience on the pitching staff, the Angels don't have that luxury right now. So Shields, who began Thursday with a 14.40 earned-run average, will remain in the bullpen, though in a lesser role.
"Scot is going to be fine, but the road to get him there is something we're going to look at," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'll explore [power bullpen sessions] if his troubles continue, but we don't have that option now."
Right-hander Anthony Ortega, who is 1-1 with a 9.88 ERA in three games at triple-A Salt Lake, is expected to be called up to start Saturday night's game against Seattle, though Scioscia said an official announcement won't come until today.