Puello helps An­gels win

He gets the go-ahead hit and steals two bases in his ma­jor league de­but at 26.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Cur­tis Zupke sports@la­times.com

The long­time mi­nor lea­guer gets his first ma­jor league hit and steals two bases in win over Ori­oles.

The long-awaited ma­jor league de­but for Ce­sar Puello be­gan when he met Al­bert Pu­jols and Mike Trout.

It peaked when Puello drove in the go-ahead run with his first ma­jor league hit, and it ended with Puello se­cur­ing the last out of the An­gels’ 5-1 vic­tory over the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles. Base­ball can work in funny ways, and it can also re­ward the per­se­ver­ance that Puello dis­played in a 10-year path to the ma­jors that came to fruition Wed­nes­day at An­gel Sta­dium.

“I came here and I got a good op­por­tu­nity and thank God for [help­ing me per­se­vere],” Puello said. “I’m very thank­ful to be here.”

Puello spent eight years in the New York Mets’ or­ga­ni­za­tion, first as a non-drafted free agent signee in 2007. Once one of their top three prospects, Puello was sus­pended 50 games in 2013 for his con­nec­tion to the Bio­gen­e­sis clinic per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing drug scan­dal.

The Mets re­leased him in a 2015 sea­son lost to in­jury, and Puello sub­se­quently spent time with the New York Yan­kees and Texas Rangers be­fore the An­gels signed him last De­cem­ber.

An­gels man­ager Mike Scios­cia didn’t see Puello in the spring. On Wed­nes­day, he saw Puello be­come the first Amer­i­can League player to record at least a hit and two stolen bases in his ma­jor league de­but when Puello stole sec­ond and third af­ter his hit in the fourth in­ning.

“How about it?” Scios­cia said. “You see the en­ergy he has. It’s great to see a young kid come up, and just go play the game of base­ball.”

Called up for his power, Puello, 26, hit the ball hard in three of his at-bats. He wasn’t afraid of the cir­cum­stance.

“I was re­laxed,” Puello said. “I’ve been play­ing base­ball for a long time. Some­thing that I like to con­trol is just slow­ing the game down and do what I’ve got to do.”

An­gels starter Troy Scrib­ner could re­late. He com­ple­mented Puello with his first win as a starter in his sec­ond ma­jor league start, giv­ing up two hits in five in­nings.

Scrib­ner re­tired 14 of his first 15 bat­ters, although he gave up a home run to Wel­ing­ton Castillo on a shot that bounced off the yel­low line at the wall in right-cen­ter.

Scios­cia re­moved Scrib­ner for matchup rea­sons af­ter he hit Joey Rickard in the sixth. Scrib­ner said he was ready to go longer but took a lot from his lat­est out­ing. He was op­tioned back to triple A af­ter­ward as An­drew Heaney draws closer to re­turn­ing.

“I think to­day was a big con­fi­dence builder for me,” Scrib­ner said. “I’ve been watch­ing a lot since that last game and I’ve been learn­ing a lit­tle bit more about how to se­quence guys up here, and how to use my stuff bet­ter at this level.”

Born two months af­ter Puello, Scrib­ner played with Puello in triple A, and fully ap­pre­ci­ated Puello’s de­but.

“He’s just one of those guys, he’ll lit­er­ally run through a wall for you,” Scrib­ner said. “Those are the kind of guys you want play­ing be­hind you. … He’s one of my fa­vorite guys. I’m so happy he’s here.”

The mati­nee of­fered some kinks to the An­gels’ lineup. In ad­di­tion to Puello, Trout made only his fifth ap­pear­ance this sea­son as des­ig­nated hit­ter, and An­drel­ton Sim­mons bat­ted third be­hind Trout for the sec­ond time this year as Pu­jols got the day off.

Trout sin­gled twice and has hits in 19 of 22 games since he re­turned from in­jury.

C.J. Cron had a sea­son­high three hits and ex­tended the lead to 4-1 with a two-run homer in the sixth in­ning. He has five RBIs in four games.

Kole Cal­houn equaled a sea­son high with three hits.

Short hops

Cameron May­bin was re­moved for a pinch-run­ner late in the game. Scios­cia said it was mostly pre­cau­tion­ary be­cause May­bin has some “gen­eral stiff­ness” not re­lated to May­bin’s re­cent sprained knee. … Sim­mons was the first An­gels short­stop to bat third since Maicer Iz­turis in 2008. … Jose Al­varez was sent down.

Sean M. Haffey Getty Im­ages

CE­SAR PUELLO got his first ma­jor league hit, then stole sec­ond and third base, above, in the fourth in­ning.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.