Mitch Atkins has thrown 50 pitches in two innings. Mark Hendrickson began to warm with two outs in the second, but Atkins struck out Carlos Santana to strand two runners.
Atkins lasted only 1 2/3 innings in his last start in Boston, so he’s cleared that mark. But he won’t be around much longer if he continues to labor.
Seven of the 13 batters he’s faced have reached base.
Adam Jones, batting cleanup today, crushed a Jeanmar Gomez slider for his 15th home run, reducing the Indians’ lead to 3-1 in the second. Estimated distance: 398 feet.
Matt Angle’s first major league at-bat ended with a ground ball to short. He caught Asdrubal Cabrera’s fly ball in the second.
So why is Angle starting today?
“I didn’t want Matt’s first game to be off a knuckleballer (Tim Wakefield) tomorrow and I didn’t want him to sit for two days,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Kind of looking in the future a little bit. Just kind of moved people around. Didn’t want Robert (Andino) to sit two days in a row. I think Matt (Wieters) is first or second in the American League in innings caught. I’m going to continue to monitor his playing time, his catching time and not take that for granted with (Craig) Tatum. Jonesy is close to leading us in RBIs, isn’t he? With Vlady (Guerrero) out, it’s another thing that doesn’t seem extremely fair about this stuff with Boston. Our guy broke his wrist basically.”
Angle had the expected reaction to being called up to the majors.
“It’s the first time, so I’m pretty surprised and also excited,” he said. “I’m just happy to be here. It’s something I dreamed about since I was a kid. Called my wife, called my mom, called my uncle.
“I don’t exactly know how many people are able to come over. I left four tickets, but I’m sure there will be other people venturing over.
Asked about the parts of his game that he’s improved upon, Angle said, “Maybe just being a little more consistent. I started the year pretty slow. I was able to play better the last couple months. Really just trying to stay consistent, try to have consistent at-bats, play hard and keep the same approach every day.”
Left field shouldn’t be a problem for Angle, who’s regarded as a plus-defender.
“I was able to play some left in spring training, and I also played some right field in the past,” he said. “I feel pretty comfortable at any of the positions.”
Said Showalter: “He’s been playing some left field down there, I think once or twice. I know he did the day before yesterday. He was going to play yesterday, but we wanted to make sure he got here for the game. Of course, you could get to anywhere out of Atlanta, the old story goes. They were in Gwinnett. (Wayne) Kirby had him out there earlier today, too. He’s acclimated. I think he’ll be OK out there. We played him all over the place in spring training, too.
“He’s doing well down there. I know Jimmy (Presley) called Brad Komminsk, talked to him a little bit about him and some of the other guys. He was pretty positive about Matt.”
Update: Atkins is done after three innings. He’s charged with three runs and six hits, with two walks, three strikeouts and a hit batter. He allowed two home runs and threw 77 pitches (43 for strikes.)
In his last two starts, Atkins has allowed nine runs and 13 hits, with three walks and five home runs, in 4 2/3 innings.