Stephen Strasburg's debut draws a crowd in Angels' clubhouse

Angels gather to watch Nationals pitcher's outing, in which he struck out 14 and gave up two earned runs. All agreed he is impressive but it remains to be seen how he does through long season.

June 09, 2010|By Mike DiGiovanna

Reporting from Oakland — — Most major league games on the clubhouse television serve as background noise, with players taking a peek at the action every now and then as they go about their pregame preparations.

Not Tuesday afternoon. At least a dozen Angels were glued to the TV in their Oakland Coliseum clubhouse watching the highly anticipated big league debut of Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg.

The right-hander's radar-gun readings — the former San Diego State star who was the top pick of the 2009 draft hit 100 mph with his fastball — were eye-catching enough.

But when Strasburg snapped off a wicked curve ball to strike out Delwyn Young in the second inning, Angels infielder Kevin Frandsen turned to outfielder Michael Ryan and gave him a look as if to say, "Wow!"

When the next Pittsburgh batter, Andy LaRoche, singled to right field for the first hit against Strasburg, many reacted with mock indignation.

"He gave up a hit?" pitcher Joe Saunders said. "He's terrible."

Strasburg went on to strike out 14 while allowing two earned runs and four hits in seven innings of a 5-2 victory. Very impressive, all agreed, but it will be interesting to see how Strasburg looks in September.

"It's tough to go from college to the big leagues, because it's too big of an innings jump," Saunders said. "You go from throwing 100 innings to 200. Your arm is not used to that kind of tax. Unless you're going to go five innings every game, you can't do it."

Morales surgery

Kendry Morales, who broke a bone above his left ankle in a freak mishap while jumping into home plate after hitting a walk-off grand slam May 29, will undergo surgery Thursday, Manager Mike Scioscia said.

Dr. Phil Kwong, a foot and ankle specialist, will insert a metal rod and several screws into the fractured fibula. The extent of the injury — and duration of the rehabilitation — won't be known until after the surgery.

The Angels hope Morales, who was batting .290 with 11 home runs and 39 runs batted in, can return in September, but there is a chance he will miss the remainder of the season.

"I think he's over the shock of it," Scioscia said. "He's disappointed, but he's come to grips with understanding the process, the surgery. We've stressed to him the importance of listening to the doctors, taking his time, don't rush it. He's anxious to get into the healing and rehabilitation."

Draft Day 2

After using their first five picks on high school players, four of them from the Deep South, the Angels kicked off the second day of the draft by selecting selected Florida Southern closer Daniel Tillman in the second round, their first of 30 picks.

The right-hander threw 22 scoreless innings in the Cape Cod League last summer and became Florida Southern's all-time leader with 30 saves this season.

The Angels selected Wendell Soto, a shortstop from Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla., in the third round. Soto signed a letter of intent to play at Florida International University.

They used an additional third-round pick on Donn Roach, a right-handed pitcher from the College of Southern Nevada who was the teammate of No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper. Roach was a 40th-round pick of the Angels in 2008 but didn't sign.

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