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Bemboom an extra-innings star hours after call

'It’s something you dream about' says catcher on action-packed Angels debut that salvaged series split
@RhettBollinger
August 11, 2019

BOSTON -- It was the kind of Angels debut Anthony Bemboom had been dreaming about since being drafted by the organization in the 22nd round of the 2012 Draft. Bemboom wasted no time making an impact after being called up from Triple-A Salt Lake before the game, throwing out reigning

BOSTON -- It was the kind of Angels debut Anthony Bemboom had been dreaming about since being drafted by the organization in the 22nd round of the 2012 Draft.

Bemboom wasted no time making an impact after being called up from Triple-A Salt Lake before the game, throwing out reigning AL MVP Award winner Mookie Betts as he attempted to steal second in the eighth inning and delivering a go-ahead RBI single in the 10th to lift the Angels to a 5-4 win over the Red Sox in the series finale on Sunday at Fenway Park.

Box score

Bemboom, though, took an unusual route to his Angels debut, having been lost via the Rule 5 Draft to the Rockies before the 2017 season, only to rejoin the club this year after having his contract purchased from the Rays on July 16.

"It’s something you dream about, think about once you get drafted by the team,” Bemboom said. “Roundabout way it happened. I’m happy the way it did. I wouldn’t trade it.”

It was part of a wild day for Bemboom, who was told late Saturday night that he’d be joining the Angels with Kevan Smith heading to the injured list with back spasms. With Triple-A Salt Lake playing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Bemboom took a 6:33 a.m. flight through Detroit, arriving in Boston at 11:53 on Sunday and getting to the ballpark about 20 minutes before first pitch.

Angels manager Brad Ausmus met Bemboom for the first time shortly before the start of the game and was impressed by the way he was able to help the club on such short notice in his debut.

“He’s a guy I hadn’t seen before,” Ausmus said. “He had an immediate impact, obviously. The reports we had on him were that he’s an excellent defensive catcher. For us, it was the bat that made the difference today, because we needed it.”

Bemboom didn’t start but replaced Justin Upton in the bottom of the eighth inning after Upton served as a pinch-hitter for starting catch Max Stassi. He came up to the plate with Kole Calhoun at third and two outs in the 10th and came through with a single to right on a first-pitch changeup from reliever Ryan Weber.

“I was ready to swing [on] first pitch. Just see something up, put a swing on it,” Bemboom said. “I hadn’t faced him before so I wasn’t trying to go too deep into a gameplan. I just wanted to see it up and put a good swing on it.”

Incredibly, it was the first swing of the day for the left-handed hitting Bemboom, who didn’t have any time for any swings in the cages before the at-bat.

“That probably helped, to be honest,” Bemboom said. “I wasn’t thinking about it too much. It’s one of those things, you take a million swings, you’re thinking about it a lot.”

Bemboom also made a strong play defensively to help the Angels, easily throwing Betts out at second base as he attempted to steal in the eighth inning. It helped Cam Bedrosian escape a jam and keep the game tied after Calhoun homered to tie it in the top of the inning.

“New guy is a pretty good player,” Calhoun said with a smile. “Threw out a guy at second and gets the game-winning hit. He helped this ballclub. It was awesome to see him come through."

Bemboom's single was his third career hit, as he was 2-for-5 with the Rays earlier this year before suffering a knee sprain in mid-May that kept him out until late June. The Angels acquired him to improve their catching depth and he was playing well at Triple-A Salt Lake, hitting .410 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 11 games before the promotion.

“I’m thankful to the Angels organization bringing me back in,” Bemboom said. “It’s great how it happened. Going through the injuries is tough, especially, but it’s good to kind of have that light at the end of the tunnel. You know that you’re working towards something and to have that belief you can get back there.”

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.