A game-ending ‘crazy, freak play’ with a stuck ball hurts Angels

Taylor Featherston, George Springer

Angels second baseman Taylor Featherston, left, tags out Houston Astros’ George Springer as he attempts to steal second during the seventh inning on Sunday.

(Kelvin Kuo / AP)

Years ago, Angels second baseman Taylor Featherston watched a highlight where a comebacker got stuck in a pitcher’s glove, so the pitcher just tossed his glove to first base.

It was something he’d seen before, as had a few teammates. But none had ever had it happen to them, or even for a team they were playing on, until the worst possible moment on Sunday.

It was then, with two outs in the ninth inning, that Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa sent a ball 111 mph, on one hop, toward the outfield.

Featherston took three steps, then dove and plucked the ball from the air. But when he stood to throw to record the game’s final out, the ball was caught in his glove’s webbing.


“It’s literally never happened before,” Featherston said. “Once one or two seconds go by, the play’s over. I don’t know if there’s anything I can do to fix it. Tighten the glove a little bit I guess, but it’s the same glove I’m using every day.”

After the diving stop, Featherston had reached into the glove, expecting to find the ball in the pocket. He reached in again, as if to make sure it truly wasn’t in there.

“It’s a very helpless feeling,” he said.

He said he didn’t consider throwing the glove to first base, because he was too far away. The runner on base had already reached second, so that wasn’t in play either.


All he could do was gawk at his glove and then wiggle the ball free.

And so, one of the Angels’ more frustrating, crucial losses of the year was decided by what Mike Trout called “just a crazy, freak play.”

“Sometimes,” said right fielder Kole Calhoun, “it’s crazy how the game works.”

Afterward, Featherston said he couldn’t describe the feeling, of seeming to save the game one moment, then reaching in to find an empty glove.

“Ya’ll saw it,” Featherston said. “Thing just got stuck. Bummer.”

Tropeano to start

The Angels announced right-hander Nick Tropeano will start on Tuesday in place of right-hander Matt Shoemaker, who is still nursing a forearm strain. Tropeano has made four spot starts for the Angels this season, and he is 1-2 with a 5.66 earned-run average.

Shoemaker threw a bullpen session on Sunday and plans to throw a simulated game this week. Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said a return was possible against the Minnesota Twins. That series begins Thursday.


Short hops

After hitting the game-winning home run on Saturday, C.J. Cron blasted two more on Sunday. Since rejoining the team on June 29 after being demoted to the minors, Cron is batting .313 with 13 home runs and 36 RBIs. “When he’s getting pitches to drive, he’s not missing them right now,” Scioscia said.

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