Angels proud to celebrate Robinson

August 29th, 2020

The Angels joined the rest of Major League Baseball in celebrating Jackie Robinson and his incredible impact on society with Jackie Robinson Day on Friday. All players wore No. 42 to honor Robinson, while MLB announced a partnership extension with the Jackie Robinson Foundation through 2023, which includes $3.5 million to support JRF’s Scholarship Program, the Jackie Robinson Museum and the annual JRF ROBIE Awards.

Jackie Robinson Day is traditionally held on April 15 to commemorate Robinson breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, but was pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was celebrated on Aug. 28 for two reasons -- Robinson had his famous meeting with Branch Rickey about what to expect if he signed with the Dodgers on Aug. 28, 1945, and it's also the anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

“I've always been a big fan of Jackie Robinson,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “I researched this a lot. I find it fascinating, interesting and probably one of the most significant members of the last century was Jackie Robinson, so it's deserved to have this kind of a day for him. Things like this I think are illuminating to the point where even players now who have the jersey, thought about it a little bit, maybe this causes them to want to do even more research and understand even more of what he went through to arrive at the point we are today. So, big fan. I think it's great that we're doing this, and I have been a big fan for a while."

Maddon also said the Angels held a team-wide Zoom meeting to talk about social issues after the club saw its scheduled games against the Astros on Wednesday and Thursday postponed due to Hurricane Laura.

“I speak for my team,” Maddon said. “There's a lot of really good conversations that I'm participating in. These Zoomers that we had, where everybody was involved, I learned a lot myself. I did a lot of research on my own. I had my own opinions to share with the guys, and then they shared theirs back. And then there's a lot of folks, they really don't know what they think. You have to do your research in order sometimes to find out, 'What do I think about all this?' But that's what we've been doing. And guys have come out the other side of being better versed in the topic, having a better understanding of what they think and how they feel.”

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The Angels have four Black players on their active roster in outfielders Justin Upton, Brian Goodwin and Jo Adell and right-hander Kenyon Middleton. Upton and Goodwin are both members of The Players Alliance, which is made up of more than 100 current and former Black players. Members donated their salaries from Thursday and Friday to The Players Alliance.

Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney talked about the importance of Jackie Robinson after the club's 3-2 win over the Mariners, saying he just wants to see people be treated as equals.

"It's something that, as a human being, I hate to see the look on my teammates' faces after what has been happening," Heaney said. "It's tough to see, and I hope that, as a country, we can start moving forward, but it's up to individual people to continue conversations and to continue broadening their mind and just being better human beings. If you can't say that Black Lives Matter, you're in the wrong."

Angels make roster moves
The Angels recalled first baseman Jared Walsh and reliever José Quijada from their alternate training site in Long Beach before Friday’s game. Infielder Luis Rengifo and left-hander Patrick Sandoval were both optioned.

Walsh gives the Angels another backup first baseman behind Albert Pujols and Tommy La Stella, while Quijada gives them another lefty in the bullpen. Rengifo struggled offensively, hitting .157 in 18 games, while Sandoval posted a 6.75 ERA in five starts and will remain stretched out in Long Beach.

With Sandoval optioned, it leaves the Angels with a three-man rotation composed of Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy and Griffin Canning. The Angels have yet to name a starter for Monday, but it could be either Julio Teheran or Jaime Barria. They both pitched on Tuesday, as Teheran allowed three runs over 4 2/3 innings and Barria allowed one run over five innings in relief. Teheran would have to be moved from the bullpen, while Barria would have to be recalled.