Notes from Tempe, Day 3

Roberto Lopez
Roberto Lopez homered off Ervin Santana during Wednesday’s intrasquad game.


This post about Wednesday at extended spring training is a couple days late. I came down with the flu as I was driving home from Arizona, and I’m still pretty wiped out. The flu bug was going through camp, so I guess they decided to make me part of the family.

Wednesday was the rehab start for Ervin Santana. It was originally scheduled to be a game at Fitch Park against the Cubs, but the Angels arranged to switch the schedule so they could control the environment with an intrasquad game at Tempe Diablo.

Those unique circumstances led to a memory Roberto Lopez will have for the rest of hls life.

Lopez batted third in the lineup. In the top of the 1st, he fouled off several pitches, but then the pitching coach called an end to the inning so Santana wouldn’t get too extended in his pitch count.

Click Here to see the video of Santana’s first inning. You need Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection to watch.

That gave Lopez an opportunity to see Santana’s stuff. At the top of the 2nd, Lopez asked manager Ty Boykin if he should bat again, or let the #4 hitter bat. “Bone” told Lopez to bat.

On the second pitch, Lopez drilled a homer to left field off Santana.

Click Here to see the video of Lopez’s homer.

That was the only run Santana gave up in his three innings of work.

This was also the first game Lopez has caught in a while, due to nagging injuries. The Angels began teaching Lopez how to catch in fall instructional league. It doesn’t appear this will be a full-time conversion, more like adding another skill to enhance his résumé.

I recorded a video interview with Lopez after the game. Click Here to watch the video interview.

I have lots more video to come, which will appear on the web site over the next few days.

One clip will be of Korean pitcher Pilljoon Jang, who opposed Santana in the intrasquad game. Just to show you how international the game has become, Dominican Santana was caught by Japanese Ikko Sumi. Korean Jang was caught by Lopez, a San Diego native and USC graduate who speaks both English and Spanish.

And with that, I’m going back to my sick bed … Achoo …

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