For the better part of three weeks, an SUV sat, unmoved, in the players parking lot at Smith's Ballpark. Its owner did all the traveling for it, going literally from coast-to-coast and playing for two MLB teams.
As fate would have it, the SUV and owner have been reunited.
On May 25, Bees pitcher Wade LeBlanc was called up to a spot in the Angels bull pen. He left everything behind to join the Angels, including his car parked in the Bees players' parking lot.
A week later, Los Angeles was again in need of an extra arm, and with LeBlanc having just thrown 94 pitches in a May 30 game against Oakland, the Angels decided to send him down, but it wasn't that simple. With the MLB waiver and rehab assignment policy being as it is, Los Angeles had to make room for another man on the 40-man roster and was forced to put LeBlanc on the waiver wire, with the hopes that if he cleared he'd be assigned back to Salt Lake.
"You don't really look at it as being cut because when you get cut you don't have a job," LeBlanc said. "There were still teams that wanted me around.
"The Angels made it clear that it was a move out of necessity," he said. "It wasn't like they didn't want me. I was going to be out of commission for three or four days. In order to get a fresh arm in there, I was kind of a logical choice to go, but as long as someone is willing to pay me to play a game for a living, I'm happy."
The Yankees snagged the lefty off waivers and the pitcher was soon on a flight to New York to join his new team. After pitching one inning for the Yankees on June 4, LeBlanc found himself in a familiar situation.
On June 11, LeBlanc was again on the waiver wire, but this time no teams came calling. Instead of taking the assignment with Yankee triple-A affiliate Scranton, LeBlanc opted to declare for free agency. His representatives approached the Angels and the pitcher was soon wearing the black and gold of the Bees and back in his SUV.
LeBlanc made his return to the Salt Lake mound Friday night, pitching 4.0 innings and allowing four runs as the Bees lost to Memphis 13-4, but at least he drove home in his own vehicle.
"I was going to have (my car) shipped out but then, you know, I'm back," LeBlanc said. "And I'm happy to be back in Salt Lake."