With the Tempe Angels – Day Three

Clay Fuller steals second base in the bottom of the third of Sunday’s game.

First off, apologies to Clay Fuller.

Clay had a homer, single and stolen base today to help the Tempe Angels to a 3-2 win over the Peoria Padres.

I should have been filming video when Clay homered in the bottom of the fifth, but I was on the sidelines yakking with a couple pitchers. So you’ll have to take the word of the official scorer that Clay homered. It was a prodigious blow to left field.

Anthony Norman also had a standout game, with three hits in four at-bats and two stolen bases.

Starter Manuel Flores gave up two unearned runs in the first inning but settled down to pitch into the 7th. He was relieved by Leo Calderon, and then in the ninth Eddie McKiernan struck out the side to get his second save of the young season.

Fuller and McKiernan were two of the players I discussed yesterday with Tempe manager Ty Boykin. Click Here to listen to the Boykin interview.

Mike Anton, another pitcher I discussed with Boykin, has an intriguing backstory — which was what I was talking about when Clay Fuller hit his dinger. But rather than telling that story second-hand, I’m going to try to record an interview with Mike over the phone when I return home tomorrow.

Padres center fielder Yefri Carvajal makes a spectacular catch in the third inning.

He’s not one of ours, but a nod to Padres center fielder Yefri Carvajal who made a spectacular catch in the third to preserve the Padres’ lead. The 18-year old hit third for Peoria, and in 100 AB has an AVG/OBP/SLG of .340/.404/.500. That’s all I know about him, but he looked like he might be a legit prospect for San Diego.

Speaking of prospects, Matt Bush was nowhere to be seen. The Padres recently converted their 2004 first-round draft pick shortstop to the mound, but he was shut down July 5 with a sore shoulder.

Before the game, I recorded a lengthy interview with the Angels’ roving catching instructor Tom Gregorio. Click Here to listen to the interview. Tom began with the Angels as a 27th round pick in the June 1999 draft, and started his career with Tom Kotchman’s Boise Hawks. He played in 12 games for the Angels in September 2003 after Bengie and Jose Molina were both injured. Gregorio ended his career last year in the Rangers system, then retired to take the roving catching job with the Angels. Tom offers a lot of insights into the Angels’ development of catchers, and discusses what he experienced with the A’s, Mariners and Rangers after he moved on from the Angels system. Of course, we also talk about all the catcher prospects in the organization.

The first topic we talked about was yesterday’s trade of Jose Molina to the Yankees for minor league pitcher Jeff Kennard. More about that in another blog.

Eddie McKiernan struck out the side in the 9th to earn the save. Tempe manager Ty Boykin compares him to Scot Shields.

Some family members were in attendance for today’s game. Hank Conger’s parents made the drive yesterday from Huntington Beach. Ryan Mount had family here, and Chris Garcia’s parents have been here since Friday.

One player approached me to ask if I’d shoot some posed photos he could e-mail to his mom, and I gladly obliged. After all, that’s one big reason why FutureAngels.com exists, to preserve memories. Seeing Tom Gregorio and Brandon Emanuel here as coaches really brought back memories for me of when I met them for the first time. Seeing them evolve from players to coaches says something about how the Angels operate as a family.

As for video, I don’t think I’ll get the opportunity to edit anything tonight as we’re leaving VERY early in the morning to drive home. (The idea is to watch the sun rise from the middle of the remote desert.) I do want to get on-line for you video of Mike Anton and Eddie McKiernan, so I’ll try to make those a priority.


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