Fernando Valenzuela came home without ever really leaving.
Valenzuela, the former Los Ange les Dodgers' pitcher, agreed to termson a one-year contract with the California Angels Monday night, thus reviving "Fernandomania" in Southern California.Upon hearing the news, Los Angeles Manager Tom Lasorda had nothing but praise for the left-hander. "That's great," said Lasorda. "I'm happy for him. I think he'll help the California Angels. For me, he was great. He's a great guy and a great pitcher."
Valenzuela, one of the most popular athletes in the history of Southern California, had been released on March 28 by the Dodgers after going 1-2 with a 7.88 ERA in spring training. He compiled a 141-116 record and a 3.31 ERA over 11 seasons.
Although he threw a no-hitter last June, Valenzuela struggled down the stretch and finished with a 13-13 record and a career-high 4.59 ERA in 33 starts.
"We feel it's the beginning of a new chapter in the Fernando Valenzuela legacy," club president Richard Brown said at an Anaheim Stadium news conference.
The portly Mexican will begin his comeback on Wednesday night with the Palm Springs Angels of the Class-A California League.
Valenzuela comes to a team that features left-handers Chuck Finley, Jim Abbott and Mark Langston.
"It doesn't matter if a staff is all right-handed or all left-handed," Angels' Manager Doug Rader said. "If you have four left-handers and they're all excellent pitchers, all the better."
Valenzuela broke in the majors with Los Angeles late in the 1980 season, featuring a tantalizing screwball and a motion that featured a peek toward the sky before release.
He received strong support form the Hispanic community and became the first player in 1981 to win the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards in the same season. That year he went 13-7 with a 2.48 ERA and helped the Dodgers defeat the New York Yankees in the World Series.
Indians 3, Yankees 1
At Cleveland, Eric King and Shawn Hillegas combined on a six-hitter and Chris James hit a two-run double to lift Cleveland. King, 4-4, allowed four hits in six innings and Hillegas toseed three innings of two-hit ball for his first save. Chuck Cary, 1-5, lost his fourth straight.
Boston 3, Milwaukee 0
At Boston, Steve Lyons and Jack Clark homered and Jeff Reardon gained his 300th save to help Boston snap a three-game losing streak. Reardon pitched the ninth to pick up his 13th save of the season and become the fourth pitcher in major league history to earn 300 saves, joining Rollie Fingers, Rich Gossage and Bruce Sutter. Matt Young, 3-1, went six-plus innings for the win. Chris Bosio, 4-5, took the loss.
Mariners 8, Royals 6
At Kansas City, Greg Briley scored on a wild pitch by Jeff Montgomery with two out in the ninth to lift Seattle. Alvin Davis drove in four runs with a two-run single and a two-run double for the Mariners, who have won 13 of 15. Russ Swan, 1-0, pitched three innings for the win and Mike Jackson earned his fourth save. Jeff Montgomery, 1-2, was the loser.
Tigers 11, Orioles 5
At Detroit, Pete Incaviglia belted the second first-inning grand slam for Detroit in two games and added an RBI double to lead Detroit to its second victory after losing eight straight. Reliever Jerry Don Gleaton, 2-1, pitched 3 2-3 innings for the win. Bob Milacki, 1-1, absorbed the loss.
Blue Jays 1, Athletics 0
At Oakland, Mookie Wilson doubled in Rene Gonzalez from second base with two out in the sixth inning to lift Toronto. David Wells, 5-3, gave up two hits over seven innings. Bob Welch, fell to 4-3, despite throwing a four-hit complete game. Tom Henke worked the ninth to earn his third save.
Astros 4, Dodgers 1
There's something special about the mound in the Astrodome that brings out the best in Jimmy Jones.
Jones, 4-1, took a two-hit shutout into the ninth inning Monday night to lead the Houston Astros to a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jones, who the Astros invited to spring training as a non-roster player prior to the season, is 4-0 in eight lifetime starts at the Astrodome with a 1.45 earned run average.
In his 1986 rookie season with San Diego, he made a successful major-league debut at the Astrodome with a one-hit shutout of the Astros. The performance tied a major-league record.
Padres 7, Braves 3
At Atlanta, Tony Fernandez and Tony Gwynn homered and drove in two runs each and Ed Whitson went the distance for his third victory.
Whitson, 3-4, scattered 11 hits but was able to hold on for his second complete game of the season. The right-hander, who walked none and struck out four, also contributed a sacrifice and scored a run.