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Double-A club endures rocky road trip

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- The Double-A Arkansas Travelers are back home now, and that's a good thing.

The road was quite arduous to start the season.

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SEATTLE -- The Double-A Arkansas Travelers are back home now, and that's a good thing.

The road was quite arduous to start the season.

View Full Game Coverage

First, there was the bus that broke down, just as they were getting into a 10-hour road trip. Then there was the hotel that lost their reservation, forcing the Angels' prospects to temporarily sleep in a conference room just before the sun came up.

"It was a crazy trip, that's for sure," said Mark Sappington, the Angels' fourth-best prospect, in a phone conversation.

It began with the season-opening, 650-mile trip from North Little Rock, Ark., to Midland, Texas, last Wednesday. About five miles in, the bus driver pulled over at a local Wal-Mart.

"I thought, 'Oh, that's cool, they'll just pull over to see if anybody needs some snacks or a pillow or something for the long trip,'" Sappington said.

They actually thought there was a flat tire, but there wasn't. So they kept going. And about 90 minutes later, they pulled over and told the players they'd have to transfer all their stuff and squeeze into the second bus, which was about five miles ahead and had to turn around.

"It was a lot of fun," Sappington said. "Either you make it fun or you don't. I'm just thankful to have a bus that works."

Three days later, in the middle of the night, the Travelers drove 5 1/2 hours from Midland to Frisco. When they arrived in North Texas, at 4:30 a.m., their hotel did not have their reservation. And because the Final Four was going on in the area, there was no availability anywhere.

"It's comical at this point," Sappington said. "It's not like guys are mad. You're just looking at each other and just laughing, like, 'No way.'"

So they figured they'd get resourceful, cramming into a vacant conference room in hopes of getting some sleep, until manager Phillip Wellman got word that a nearby Embassy Suites miraculously had 23 rooms available for them.

They slept from about 6 to 11, were blessed with a rainout that Sunday, played a doubleheader Monday, finished the road trip 4-2 and finally returned home late Wednesday night.

Ah, the Minors.

"I think we made the best of it," Sappington said. "It's probably not exactly what you want, though. For that first week, you're kind of like, 'Holy [heck], what's going on?'"

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim