Dallas McPherson with a broken wrist plays catch at Provo in 2001.
FutureAngels.com was there last September when Dallas McPherson began his long journey back to the big leagues. Dallas made his first rehab appearance on September 21 in a game at the Chicago Cubs’ complex in Mesa. The next day, against the Milwaukee Brewers’ instructional team in a home game at Tempe, Dallas homered in front of a crowd of … well, a couple dozen first-year players with dreams of a major league career.
I got Dallas’ homer on video. Click Here to watch. You need Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection.
I’ve always been intrigued by Dallas’ career. I met him in 2001 at Provo. He was injured, having suffered a broken left wristplaying first base. A runner dove back into his arm on a pickoff play. Dallas was wearing a sling, but he was out in the field playing catch because he was so antsy to play. He left for home a couple days later, but watching him play catch in a sling was enough to tell me this is a guy who doesn’t give up easily.
Dallas suffered a lower back injury in the spring of 2003, but there was no reason to think it signalled a slow downward spiral. He reported a month late to Rancho Cucamonga, where on July 15 he hit a homer off a rehabbing Randy Johnson who was pitching for Lancaster. (I filmed that too; Click Here to watch.) McPherson ended 2003 with 23 homers and a late-season promotion to Arkansas. In 2004, Dallas hit 20 homers in Arkansas, another 20 for Salt Lake, and made his major league debut. The Angels let Troy Glaus walk as a free agent that winter, assuming Dallas was ready to go.
Three years later, McPherson has suffered one setback after another, enduring increasingly invasive surgeries hoping to correct the problem. The last surgery in January kept him out of action nine months, and he all but disappeared off the baseball radar.
In today’s Riverside Press-Enterprise, Angels beat writer Matt Hurst published an article about Dallas’ fall rehab. Hurst quoted McPherson:
"(My back) did better than I thought and better than a lot of other people thought," he said. "I was able play in back-to-back games, the end of games. The biggest thing is testing it out for five or six days in a row with a travel day in between, but we can’t test it until we get there."
Hurst wrote that "The Angels’ medical staff requested McPherson, who hit a combined 43 home runs in 2004, not play immediately in any winter league so he could continue to build up strength and stamina."
With Brandon Wood on the horizon, the Angels can’t afford to wait any longer for Dallas, but you can’t help but fantasize about a scenario that has a healthy McPherson at third base and Wood at shortstop. "Big Bat"?! There would be two of them.