07/13/07 11:38 PM ET
Notes: Speier activated from DL
After battling an intestinal virus, the reliever rejoins the club
By Larry Santana / MLB.com
After being forced from the mound for all of May and making a handful of camp-game starts in Arizona before moving to Class-A Rancho Cucamonga in June, Speier was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday. Chris Resop took his place on the DL with right triceps tendinitis.
"I just thank God that I'm back," Speier said. "It's just been an unbelievable road being away from the team for 2 1/2 months. I really got a good foundation underneath myself pitching seven or eight games between Arizona and Rancho, and I feel like I'm ready to go.
"I feel like I'm making a debut again. I'm excited to get back out there."
With his strength returned, Speier looks to extend the dominance he displayed so prominently in 15 appearances this season. Through 16 innings, he fanned 17 batters and held 13 base runners scoreless while surrendering seven hits and five walks.
He is likely to remain on antibiotics for the remainder of the season, but says he is at full strength after having "tweaked some meds."
"I want to publicly thank Arte Moreno and Bill Stoneman and [manager Mike] Scioscia," he said. "The whole team's been very understanding. They got a family atmosphere here. They care about the players' health more importantly, first, and then performance on the field. So, I commend them for their support."
"Humbled" by his ailment and its subsequent limitations, Speier said the ordeal granted him "a new perspective."
"You never know when life throws you a curveball," he said. "[The experience taught me] to really enjoy your day, enjoy the moment, enjoy being able to go out and play baseball."
Speier said he's willing to fulfill whatever role his manager appoints. To better define that role, Scioscia mentioned that he'd like to offer "an inning to get [Speier's] feet on the ground" before letting him "float to the back end [of the rotation], whether in conjunction with what [Scott] Shields is doing or in front of him."
An Angel gets his wings: Pitcher Jon Bachanov, the Angels' first selection in the 2007 First-Year Players Draft (58th overall), made his first of what he hopes to be many appearances at Angel Stadium. The right-handed Floridian, a graduate of University High School in Orlando, who signed to a Minor League contract on Friday, spoke to reporters during the second inning of Friday's contest against Texas.
Dressed in a suit and sporting the cap of his new team, Bachanov fielded questions about his impressions of the organization, pitching and his gargantuan brothers.
"It feels great," he said of being signed with the Angels. "It makes you feel like they really will develop me, get me to the Major Leagues. They're going to take care of me. They're really good at developing pitching, and they know how to win around here."
Bachanov admits that he has "steered away from throwing a baseball" as of late to rest his arm. But he keeps in shape by lifting weights regularly with a personal trainer and playing basketball.
Although the flight from Orlando was a bit cramped -- Bachanov had to squeeze his growing 6'4 frame into an aisle with his brothers, who stand 6'9 and 6'7, respectively -- he was consoled by the prospect of meeting his favorite Angel.
"I'm a big fan of John Lackey," he said. "He's a great competitor. A lot of people tell me I pitch kind of like him. It'd be kind of neat to see him. I enjoy watching him pitch."
Bachanov did not set a timetable for his Angel Stadium debut, but he maintained that he is willing to do whatever is necessary to "get me through the Major Leagues the fastest and what's best for the organization."
"It's all about how I pitch," he said. "It's about how hard I work and how bad I want it. If I work hard, I can prove myself."
Monsters of the Minors: Orem Owlz shortstop Andrew Romine went a perfect 4-for-4 with a pair of triples and three RBIs in an 11-3 Pioneer League win over the Billings Mustangs Sunday.
Arizona Angels first baseman Chris Garcia rattled off four hits in 10 innings, leading his team in a 14-13 Arizona League loss to the Cubs. Garcia finished with a double and a pair of RBIs, while second baseman Ivan Contreras smashed three hits and knocked in a run.
On deck: After besting the Bronx Bombers in his last start and enjoying his first Mid-Summer Classic, John Lackey (11-5, 2.91) starts his second half against Texas' Kameron Loe (5-6, 5.36) on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. PT.
Larry Santana is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.