The Angels’ 2014 season — and Don Baylor’s tenure as the team’s hitting coach — got off to a rocky and bizarre start Monday night when Baylor fractured his right femur while catching the ceremonial first pitch from Vladimir Guerrero and had to be carried off the Angel Stadium field.
Baylor is scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday, the Angels said.
The first-pitch ceremony before the season opener against the Seattle Mariners paired the only two Angels players who have won American League most-valuable-player awards, Baylor in 1979 and Guerrero in 2004.
The strong-armed Guerrero’s pitch was low and away, and Baylor, 64, made a lunging, backhand grab, but Baylor turned his right ankle in the process and was unable to get up.
Baylor sat motionless on the ground for a few moments before athletic trainers came out to tend to him and help him off the field.
The team announced during the second inning that Baylor had sustained a right leg injury and was taken to UCI Medical Center for further testing and evaluation.
The incident was eerily reminiscent of the 2010 play on which former Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales broke his leg while jumping onto the plate after a walk-off grand slam. Or the time first baseman Mo Vaughn, in his first game after signing a six-year, $80-million contract with the Angels, tumbled into the dugout while chasing a foul pop-up and suffered a severely sprained ankle in the 1999 season opener.
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