The organization’s Favorite Son I, former Angel pitcher Nolan Ryan, was on hand for Wednesday night’s pregame ceremony to retire the jersey of the late coach Jimmie Reese.
Favorite Son II, pitcher Jim Abbott, traded away from the Angels in 1992 but back to the team last week, will be on the mound tonight to face the Mariners in his first Anaheim Stadium start since being traded from the Chicago White Sox.
“It’s not a normal start,” acknowledged Abbott, who pitched six shutout innings against Milwaukee in Saturday’s 4-0 victory. “But I don’t think it will be too emotional. I’m not just here for one start. It’s just the first game back of the rest of the season.”
Abbott was acquired to bolster the Angel rotation for the pennant drive, and he’ll be facing another pitcher, Seattle’s Andy Benes, who was acquired from the San Diego Padres over the weekend for the same reason.
Mariner fans were as pleasantly surprised by the team’s trade for Benes as Angel fans were of the Abbott deal. It was the first time in the history of the organization Seattle has put out big money (Benes makes $3.4 million) to improve the team at midseason.
“I think it sends a clear message to the players and fans that ownership is doing everything it can to win,” Seattle Manager Lou Piniella said. “It’s the type of deal Seattle hasn’t been noted for in the past.”
Left-handed reliever Tim Fortugno, acquired from the White Sox in the Abbott deal, cleared waivers and was optioned to triple-A Vancouver. . . . The Angels sold another 221 season tickets Wednesday, bringing to 863 the number of season tickets sold since the Abbott trade.