10/11/05 8:55 PM ET
Washburn out to make Sox bats sick
After battling strep throat left-hander ready to start Game 2
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Then he saw his Angels teammates battling the Yankees in the American League Division Series and got even sicker.
"I can't think of anything that would be worse torture for a baseball player to go through," said Washburn, who pronounced himself ready to start Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the White Sox despite missing his scheduled Game 4 start in the ALDS because of strep throat.
"Those were the hardest two games I've ever watched in my life, having to sit in a room by myself, having to watch it on TV and can't help," Washburn said.
"It was tough," he added. "Watching games and sitting in the dugout on games you're not pitching is pretty tough, but it's something you're used to, because that's your job as a starting pitcher.
"But I really didn't feel like part of the team. I just felt kind of like an outcast and couldn't help the team, so it was like torture sitting back there not being able to at least go out there and cheer my teammates on."
Washburn doesn't have to worry about that anymore.
He took antibiotics, his fever broke in the last 24 hours and the Angels have a legitimate starter for Game 2 and won't have to resort to a hodgepodge of relievers.
This was especially comforting news to the Angels given the fact that their No. 1 starter, Bartolo Colon, was left off the ALCS roster because of the shoulder problem that necessitated his second-inning removal in Game 5 of the ALDS.
The extent of Colon's injury was unknown before the start of Game 1 in U.S. Cellular Field, and the burly right-hander was slated to undergo an MRI exam Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Angels general manager Bill Stoneman said the club expects the usual from Washburn, who went 8-8 during the regular season but had a 3.20 ERA, which ranked fourth among AL starters.
"We expect the best effort he can give us," Stoneman said. "He's as competitive a guy as you'll ever find."
But Stoneman acknowledged that Washburn would not simply be pitching because the team needs an arm in there.
"If he's not healthy, he's not going to go out," Stoneman said. "They [manager Mike Scioscia and pitching coach Bud Black] are not going to force the issue. They never do that. It's not a smart thing to do."
Washburn said he felt the sickness coming on for about two hours Saturday in New York.
"Then it hit me real hard and I knew I had something pretty bad," Washburn said. "I figured out pretty quick what it was. I used to get strep throat once a year, and then about three years ago I got it in Spring Training and it knocked me out for about 10 days, and I had to start the season on the DL.
"So I knew what it was when it finally hit me hard, and luckily this time we were able to jump on it in time and get the shots in me quickly and get a handle on it before it got out of hand."
Now the road-weary Angels will try to get a handle on the White Sox, and having Washburn on the mound is a bonus for a banged-up club.
"I told them I'm going to give them exactly what I do every time out there, and I'm going to give them everything I've got for as long as I can," Washburn said.
"I would assume they'll probably be pretty cautious given that I'm a little weak still and not really regained all my strength. I'm not going to hold anything back. I'm going to give them everything I've got for as long as I can."
Washburn might not have all of his strength, but he still has his sense of humor.
When asked if he'll feel rusty because he hasn't pitched since a two-inning tuneup in Texas the last week of the regular season, Washburn cracked, "I'm always rusty."
Then, when asked by a Los Angeles newspaper columnist if he's contagious, Washburn said, "I don't know. You want a kiss?"
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.