Don Baylor Breaks Leg During Ceremonial Pitch on Opening Day

Image: Don Baylor Breaks Leg During Ceremonial Pitch on Opening Day

Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 07:13 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Los Angeles Angels hitting coach Don Baylor is recovering from surgery Tuesday after one of the most bizarre injuries on Major League's baseball's opening day – breaking his leg during the ceremonial first pitch before the contest.

Baylor, former manager of the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies, played the catcher in the often non-eventual ceremony with former Angel Vladimir Guerrero on Monday, according to The Associated Press.

Baylor, 64, lunged trying to backhand Guerrero's low and away pitch when he appeared to turn his right ankle awkwardly and could not stand up, reported the Los Angeles Times. Baylor stayed on the ground before trainers came to his aid.

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The AP said the result was a broken right femur, a stunning freak injury for the former American League most valuable player who spent 19 seasons in the majors as a player. Baylor underwent more than five hours of surgery at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center where he had a plate and screws inserted in his leg by Dr. John Scolaro.

"I still can't believe what happened, I really can't," Angels' assistant hitting coach Dave Hansen told The AP. "That shock is still there. I just can't get that out of my head. ... We'll hold him close and give him as much support as we can."

Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said he could not confirm how long Baylor will be missing from the Angels bench. Baylor joined the team last October.

"Don is one tough guy," said Scioscia. "He's not giving in to anything. He wants to get this done, wants to come back and wants to help us. Once the surgery gets done, let's see what he can do. He's trying to put his best foot forward."

The incident happened just before Los Angeles opened its season at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. against the Seattle Mariners. The Angels would lose the game 10-3.

The Times reported that Baylor was asked to participate in the ceremony honoring Guerrero because they were the only two Angels to ever win most valuable player honors. Baylor won the title in 1979 and Guerrero in 2004.

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