There was a bizarre injury at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Monday night, and it happened before the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners even got their seasons underway.
New Angels hitting coach Don Baylor was set to receive the first pitch from former Angel Vladimir Guerrero, who signed a one-day contract to retire with the team, but as Vlad’s pitch went a bit off the plate, the 64-year-old Baylor reached for the ball, twisted his leg awkwardly and suffered what appeared to be a serious injury.
Trainers had to help him limp off the field, and the team’s official Twitter feed later confirmed that he suffered a fractured right femur and will soon go in for surgery:
Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown noted that Baylor deals with a bone-weakening condition:
ABC (via ESPN.com) later provided a statement from Angels manager Mike Scioscia discussing the incident: “Obviously it’s a freak (injury). We’ll see how it turns out.”
The former Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs manager was a player from 1970-1988. He played with the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, California Angels, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins, hitting 338 home runs and 1,276 RBI.
He won the AL MVP in 1979—he and Guerrero, interestingly enough, are the only two MVPs in Angels history—and made it to the World Series in three consecutive seasons with the Red Sox (1986), Twins (1987) and A’s (1988), winning the Fall Classic with Minnesota.
Don Baylor Rusty Kennedy
As Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com noted, assistant hitting coach Dave Hansen will likely take over for Baylor while he’s sidelined.
As a team, the Angels finished fifth in batting average (.264) and on-base percentage (.329) last season. With Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in the 2-3-4 spots, this team should continue to rake while Baylor recovers.