"I thought it was a rat," the
So began a made-for-television moment that
The 6-foot-7, 245-pound De La Rosa, cupping the pigeon in both hands, walked from the bullpen, which is down the right-field line, to the first base dugout, up the tunnel to the clubhouse and out the back door of the stadium, releasing the pigeon in the players' parking lot.
Teammates started calling De La Rosa "Birdman." The pitcher received so much praise from animal lovers on social media that he had to stop responding to messages Friday.
"For a bird, you believe that?" said De La Rosa, who threw a scoreless eighth inning in the Angels' 8-3 win. "It's a weird world."
There were also concerns about the health risks of handling a pigeon, but "I made sure to wash my hands really well," De La Rosa said.
All of the Angels regulars except Hamilton took the first bus, at 2 p.m., from the team hotel to the stadium, but by the time Hamilton went to the lobby to catch the 4 p.m. bus to the park, the bridge was closed.
"I walked straight to the BART station," Hamilton said. "You gotta make adjustments, baby."
Was it the first time Hamilton, who played five years in Texas, took public transportation to the Oakland Coliseum?
"No, what do you think, I'm spoiled?" he joked. "The Rangers used to have one bus, so we took BART all the time. No one even recognized me. It was cool."
The bridge was reopened late Friday afternoon.
Jason Vargas, recovering from surgery to remove a blood clot in his armpit, threw 49 pitches off a mound Friday and could begin a minor league stint next week. … Second baseman