ANAHEIM -- When it comes to making a last-minute debut, Angels catcher Drew Butera’s Friday night debut fits the bill.
Twenty-four hours before that, Butera was on the Rangers' roster and, despite not playing in any games this season, he was on Texas’ taxi squad throughout the year before he made his 2021 debut for the Angels.
After stepping off his arriving plane with just his own catcher’s glove, Butera went 1-for-4 with a double and caught pitchers Griffin Canning and Patrick Sandoval in the Halos' 9-2 win a night after learning he had been traded from Texas.
“It was one heck of a day, I'll tell you that much,” Butera said during a pregame media conference on Saturday. “Long story short, none of my bags made it, personal or baseball. So it's kind of like just a makeshift of grabbing what you can and get out there, but everybody here made it super simple for me to kind of learn on the fly.”
Learning on the fly was the key for the 12-year MLB veteran. He didn’t have any video or scouting reports to look at on his flight or on his way to the ballpark. Once he arrived, the catcher went through meetings and got a crash course in the signs and scouting and pitching reports before he suited up to play the Dodgers.
It was a day so rushed for Butera that he was introduced to Canning just hours before the two made their first start together.
A key for Butera were conversations with not only Canning, but also the coaching staff and catcher Kurt Suzuki.
“It was great communication with all of us,” Butera recalled, “from coaching staff to players. Zuk was a huge help. I asked him a bunch of questions and just kind of [was] bouncing ideas and information back and forth.”
Yet this wasn’t the first time Butera had to learn on the fly with a new ballclub.
Butera was traded from the Angels to the Royals on May 7, 2015, and was told to be prepared as soon as he joined the new club to make a start immediately.
“I got moved to Kansas City and they threw me right in the fire again,” he said. “I forget who I caught, but it's kind of a very similar thing where it was like, ‘Show up and get ready to play. Whether someone's banged up or we want to give somebody a day off.’ So I've done that a couple of times in my career and I think that experience has kind of helped me.”
Angels manager Joe Maddon equated the situation to playing summer ball.
“It probably happens more in those situations,” he said. “I bet it's been in his past where when he's playing summer league ball somewhere, that in a tournament situation you might get it thrust on you, but it doesn't happen often here and he handled it so well.”
Rendon improving from injury
Anthony Rendon (left knee contusion) was put on the IL on Wednesday after he fouled a ball off his knee and needed assistance leaving the field during an at-bat against the Rays.
Maddon said Rendon’s mobility has improved and he could return during the team’s next road trip against Boston, which starts Friday.
“[Rendon’s] moving around a lot better. He's actually able to kind of like kick his foot out without any issue. You can imagine where it was hit and how that would be difficult. ... He's able to do that more comfortably by now.”
• Maddon said left-handed reliever Tony Watson could return soon; he has rehabbed from a calf strain after being placed on the 10-day IL on May 2.
• Righty Alex Cobb was placed on the 10-day IL with a right middle finger blister. The IL stint is retroactive to Wednesday.
• Both outfielder Scott Schebler and reliever Ben Rowen were outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake, the club announced, prior to Saturday's game.