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BECKER BLOGS BASEBALL


BECKER BLOGS BASEBALL
BALTIMORE

Wearing personalized jerseys and T-shirts, Nick Adenhart's family and friends arrived at Camden Yards to support the late 22-year-old pitcher who grew up just 77 miles from the ballpark.

His father, grandmother, grandfather and aunts and uncles watched from the owner's box behind home plate, while 47 friends from western Maryland sat behind the third base dugout.

"If Nick had been here tonight, the whole town would have been down," said Jereme Leazier, who graduated from Williamsport High in 2003 and played against Adenhart in Pony League.

The friends cheered dutifully for the only team that truly understands their pain. Adenhart's father and grandparents met with Angels manager Mike Scioscia briefly in the team hotel Tuesday afternoon. The Orioles made no mention of Adenhart before the game.

"I'm still in shock," said Greg Small, who grew up a block from Adenhart in Williamsport. "I get up in the morning and that's all I think about. I've never had to deal with death before. I cried for two days."

The Angels honored Adenhart, as they have during every road trip, by hanging his jersey in a vacant locker. Many Angels wore Adenhart T-shirts under their jerseys.

* * *

GOOD TIMES FOR WONDERDOG

Rex Hudler held a photograph of a skinny red-headed ballplayer wearing an Orioles uniform.

It was himself, circa 1986. Hudler played 14 games with Baltimore, bouncing between the big leagues and Class AAA, before signing with the Expos two years later.

Despite such an inglorious tenure, Hudler still has a strong affinity for the organization - and its gem of a ballpark.

As a member of the Angels , Hudler became the first player to hit a home run into the second deck in left field at Camden Yards. Later that season he manned second base as Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak. He even caught the final out in the bottom of the fifth inning, making it a complete game.

Between innings, Hudler raced into the visitor's clubhouse and stashed the ball in his locker. "It was like an 8-carat diamond," he said.

He later placed the ball inside a baggie - with a Sharpie pen - in hopes that Ripken would sign it. But his 2-year-old daughter got to it first, defacing the ball with scribbles and doodles.

When Hudler presented the ball to Ripken two years later, the Hall of Famer paused: "Looks like someone else signed it," he said, before inscribing his own message.

"To Rex - Nice catch. Must have been right at you.

From, Cal."

* * *

KEEPING AN EYE ON SHIELDS

Scioscia visited Scot Shields during the eighth inning, not to pull his reliever, but to check on his health.

"He's battling some things in his leg," Scioscia said. "We're not really totally concerned about it. But if it's something that's affecting him there, we certainly want to know about it. The first couple hitters the ball wasn't coming out real well."

Shields, who had shin splints during spring training, said he's fine.

"These are minor things," Scioscia said, "but sometimes minor things can throw off your mechanics."

* * *

NOTES

Vladimir Guerrero (torn pectoral) ran the bases and did agility drills. He's expected to resume Baseball activities next week.

Jon Wilhite, injured in the crash that killed Adenhart, had his status upgraded to fair late last week and has been undergoing physical and speech therapy.

* * *

BIG NUMBER

19 . . . Games it took the Angels to get back-to-back wins


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 30, 2009

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