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ANGELS FYI

Tyler Chatwood's debut brings back memories for other Angels pitchers

Right-hander's first major league game causes some teammates to recall their breakthroughs.

April 12, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood reacts to giving up a three-run home run to Indians first baseman Matt LaPorta on Monday night at Angel Stadium.
Angels starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood reacts to giving up a three-run… (Kirby Lee / US Presswire )

The major league debut of 21-year-old right-hander Tyler Chatwood on Monday night got some Angels veterans reminiscing about their first games in the big leagues.

Dan Haren was 22 when he was promoted from triple A to the St. Louis Cardinals to face the San Francisco Giants in Busch Stadium on June 30, 2003.

"I drove from Memphis to St. Louis the night before, and they put me up in the Marriott hotel that was right across the street from the park," Haren said.

"I checked in, got to my room, opened the shades and could look right into the stadium. There was a game going on, the stadium was filled, and I got really nervous."

It didn't show the next day. Haren took the loss but pitched well, giving up two earned runs and seven hits in six innings, striking out three and walking one in the Giants' 5-1 win.

"I retired Marquis Grissom for my first out, faced Barry Bonds in the first inning, and he flied out to the warning track," Haren said. "I got a hit on the first pitch I saw from Jason Schmidt. That's about all I can remember."

Ervin Santana was 22 when the Angels promoted him from double A to start in Cleveland on May 17, 2005. The first four major league hitters he faced hit a triple, double, single and home run, and he gave up six runs in four innings of a 13-5 loss.

Santana, however, went on to have a very good season, with a 12-8 record and 4.65 earned-run average.

Jered Weaver, 23 at the time, was outstanding in his debut, the right-hander giving up three hits in seven scoreless innings in a 10-1 victory over Baltimore in Angel Stadium on May 27, 2006.

"I was nervous — I still get nervous before games," Weaver said before the game. "I can't imagine being 21 and making your major league debut. It's going to be fun to watch."

What kind of advice did the veterans have for Chatwood?

"Just be yourself," Haren said. "Don't try to do anything different."

Added Weaver: "Don't change anything now that you're here. It's the same game. There's just an extra deck in the stadium."

Feeling fine

Weaver said he felt no ill effects from Sunday's 15-strikeout win over Toronto, in which he threw a career-high 125 pitches in only his third start of the season.

"I don't feel any different [Monday] than I would if I had thrown 105 pitches," Weaver said.

The Angels have a day off Thursday, giving Manager Mike Scioscia the option of giving Weaver five days of rest instead of the usual four before his next start, "but I told him I'm good to go," Weaver said. "He asked if I need an extra day. I don't."

Is there any danger in carrying such a heavy workload this early in the season?

"I don't think so," said Weaver, who is 3-0 with an 0.87 ERA and a major league-leading 27 strikeouts. "In my early years, it would have taken a toll, but my body is acclimated to pitching every fifth day. It won't play a big part in what happens later in the year."

Run, Kendrys, run

Scioscia said Kendrys Morales felt "terrific" after running on a treadmill Monday and that the first baseman, recovering from a broken left ankle, will run on the field "in the next day or two."

Morales suffered a setback the last time he ran on a field, during spring training in early March. He developed soreness in the ball of his left foot and big toe and has been limited to treadmill work since.

But he has been hitting and taking ground balls, and when he can run the bases at full speed, without pain, he will begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment. The Angels hope he can return in early May.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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