Tingley Sets His Sights on Stability : Angels: His play, while filling in for injured Lance Parrish, could land him the backup catcher’s job.


Ron Tingley began his professional baseball career in 1977 at Walla Walla, Wash., he has dropped anchor in 16 ports of ball and received paychecks from five organizations in 15 seasons.

But if things continue the way they have in Anaheim, the catcher may actually remain in the same area code for more than two months.

Tingley, who makes most journeymen players look like stable guys, is no threat to take catcher Lance Parrish’s starting job. His average stood at .206 following the Angels’ 4-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday night.


But he continued to solidify his job as backup catcher, hitting a two-run double in the fourth inning to tie the score at 2 and walking and scoring the eventual winning run in the sixth inning.

“I hate looking back, because there have been a lot of frustrating years,” Tingley said. “I’ve played all over in 15 years, from Canada to South America, and it has been an up-and-down journey. Hopefully I can turn things around and stay on an upswing for the next five years.”

Tingley was called up from triple-A Edmonton on May 8 so that John Orton, considered a better catcher and one of the team’s best prospects, could go to Edmonton and play every day. Calling pitches from behind the plate instead of catching them in the bullpen tends to foster the development of younger players.

That was fine with Tingley, who, at 32, had done just about all the developing he figured he could do.

Tingley’s role for May was that of a weekend warrior--each one of his first four starts came on a Saturday or Sunday, thus allowing Parrish to rest the night before a day game or to sit out the day game.

But when Parrish came down with a strained flexor tendon in his right forearm over the weekend, Tingley’s weekend-to-weekend status changed to every day.


“This feels great--it’s what I’ve waited for for a long time,” Tingley said. “I’m glad I’m doing well and helping the team win. I wasn’t expecting this and I’m enjoying it, but I know Lance is the No. 1 catcher, and he needs to be in the lineup.”

The Angels haven’t lost much with Tingley in the lineup. Tingley, who had played in only 26 major league games before this season, has been solid defensively and occasionally outstanding offensively. The Angels are 8-4 in games he has started.

His biggest offensive game was on May 25 when he had two hits and three runs batted in to lead the Angels to a 5-0 victory over Toronto. He hit his first home run in three years Saturday night against Detroit and made another huge contribution Tuesday night.

With runners on second and third in the fourth inning, Tingley lined a double to left-center field, scoring Gary Gaetti and Jack Howell to tie the score, 2-2.

With the score tied at 3 in the sixth inning, Tingley walked, advanced to third on Dick Schofield’s single and scored on Luis Polonia’s single to give the Angels a 4-3 lead. Tingley now has more RBIs (eight) than hits (seven) this season.

“That’s amazing--I had no idea,” Tingley said. “I’ve always been able to throw people out, but my biggest question has been hitting. But as long as I can catch good games and help the pitching staff, I don’t care what I hit. Whatever I hit is a bonus.”

There have been no doubts about Tingley’s catching ability. He threw out Alan Trammell trying to steal Saturday and B.J. Surhoff trying to steal Monday. And Angel pitchers have grown more comfortable with Tingley each day.

“He’s done an outstanding job, better than anyone expected,” said Mark Langston, the winning pitcher Tuesday night. “Defensively, he’s solid as a rock and he calls a good game. Now he’s swinging the bat well and gaining confidence in himself. That can be a real lethal situation and a real help for us.

“It’s great he’s getting the opportunity because he’s paid his dues.”