Even Greg Minton was speechless, which said volumes about his 1989 spring debut here Saturday.
“I have no idea where to begin,” Minton said after weathering two stormy innings that saw the Angel relief pitcher realize all his worst fears within a matter of minutes.
On the mound, Minton began by walking the first San Diego Padre he faced and yielding a single to the second.
Two outs later, a run scored on his wild pitch.
Then he walked Garry Templeton.
Then he allowed a run-scoring single to Mark Parrent.
Then he walked Ed Whitson, the Padre pitcher.
Then he walked Joey Cora, forcing home a third run.
Finally, he struck out Randy Ready to retire the side and squelch the chaos . . . only to rev it up again the next inning by botching Tony Gwynn’s leadoff infield dribbler, which eventually led to another run.
“Let’s see,” Minton said. “I made one error, I crossed up the catcher three times, I gave up five hits and four walks. I don’t know where to start.
“I’m pretty sure I impressed Doug, though.”
This was new Angel Manager Doug Rader’s first glimpse of Minton in an exhibition game, but first impressions can be deceiving.
At least, that’s what Minton is hoping. “Last spring, I had an elbow problem, but that’s fine now,” Minton said. “Over the winter, I had my knee (surgically repaired) and it feels fine. Right now, I feel great--I just can’t get the ball within 18 inches of the plate.”
Said Rader: “I think with Greggie, he fights himself too much mentally. He projects himself as a happy-go-lucky guy. But out there today, he looked like he was trying to grind so hard. He ends up digging himself in a hole.”
Besides Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Padres, the Angels also suffered an injury to first baseman Wally Joyner, who hurt his lower back sliding into second base in the fourth inning. Actually, the official medical diagnosis was a “strained left buttock.” Joyner said he didn’t expect to miss any games because of the strain, but Manager Doug Rader is planning on holding him out a few days. . . . Chuck Finley started for the Angels and pitched three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and no walks. Bob McClure and Bryan Harvey worked the last three innings. McClure yielded two hits in two innings, Harvey one hit in one inning. . . . . The Angels also lost the B game, managing just three singles in a 6-0 loss to San Diego.