Pumped for Escobars return

Saturday is a special day for the Angels. Kelvim Escobar will be on the mound in a big-league game for the first time since October of 2007 when he was one of the best in the game.

I’m excited he’s coming back, probably almost as excited as he is. One of the reasons I came to the Angels was Kelvim, along with John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver. That’s five good starters right there, as good as any group you’ll find when they’re all healthy and dealing.

This will be my first time playing behind Escobar in a real game, and I’m pumped. His first start in a year and a half, that’s big – for us and for him.

You want him to come out and dominate, but that’s a big-time lineup he’ll be facing. The Tigers can rake. Plus, you’ve got to give him a little space, make sure he doesn’t try to do too much too soon. He’s a fierce competitor, but he’s still working on it, trying to get it back. It takes time in this game. Nothing happens overnight.

Nobody has to convince me how good Kelvim is. I have first-hand knowledge of that. He used to have his way with me when he was with the Blue Jays and I was with the Twins. He was like a Torii Hunter specialist. Seems like I had to face him all the time, and he always had that little smile on his face. No wonder.

I’m a .130 lifetime hitter against the guy. Three hits in 23 at-bats, with one home run and three RBIs. He struck me out seven times and I walked twice.

You can see why I’m happy to be on his side now.

What makes Escobar so good is his stuff and his attitude. He’s tough, and he has a deep bag to go into for any situation. I don’t think there’s any pitcher in the game with more variety than Kelvim. He has the four-seamer he gets up in the mid-90s, the two-seamer that moves, curveball, slider, split, changeup. The whole package. He’ll throw you anything, and you never know what’s coming.

I might as well have gone up blindfolded when he was with the Blue Jays. I didn’t know what was coming. I’m just glad I don’t have to hit against him anymore. That’s one less nightmare.

One thing I’ve learned about Kelvim, being his teammate, is that he works as hard as anybody, including those of us who play every day. He’s fit and strong, and that’s why I think he’s been able to come back after a serious shoulder surgery.

He’s smart, too. Kelvim’s always drinking water, staying hydrated. He knows what he has to do to get back on the field – and stay on the field.

Angels fans should be really excited about this. I know I am. I’ll be like a kid tomorrow. I can’t wait to see what Kelvim does. But it’s important to keep in mind that this is just the first step back in the journey.


  1. pacafechef@yahoo.com

    I agree – it will be great to see him pitch. Getting all of the guys healthy and dealing might be just the ticket that we need.
    By the way, you rock! I’ve been watching free agent signings by the Angels since the mid 70’s, and don’t remember anyone having the impact that you have had on the club. I hope that you stay and finish your career with this club. I’ve been a fan of the way you play and what you say and do for a long time.
    Thanks for everything!

  2. angelsgirl012

    Dear Mr Hunter,
    I love how supportive you are of your teammates 🙂 That is one of your many shining qualities! In a game that’s so competitive its nice to see you smiling and have everyone’s back. I too am excited for Escobar to be back on the mound! I have forgotten his delivery and my grandmother doesn’t even remember who he is lol (then again she is old). I don’t know how many times i’m going to type this on your blogs Mr Hunter (hmm maybe you shall recognize it and one day we’ll meet in some.. Del Taco and talk about it ^^) but you truly are a wonderful person and a heckuva ball player
    much love

    GO ANGELS!!!

  3. goangels03

    Torii, your next blog should be about getting yourself some votes for the All Star game. You deserve to be there more than anyone. And it’s very sad that so many Angels fans aren’t going out there to vote. It’s not that hard people!!! It only took me like 15 minutes to vote the max of 25 times.

  4. bucs4life1

    your boy jake marisnick just got drafted. he’s a good kid and it’s cool that he looks up to you.

    keep it up torii.

  5. bummedinoc

    It’s alsways nice when injured starters return to the lineup. This year though, Lackey hasn’t been throwing all that well so far since his return, Santana is iffy at best, and we have high hopes for Escobar. But, the fill in starters have pitched really well…look at that kid Palmer. IMHO the Angels need to find a regular starting spot on the roster for that id. He is lights out.


  6. rallymonkey5@comcast.net

    Torii, that 3 homer game was awesome. #2 was very close, but I wasn’t that worried, the centerfielder with the best chance of catching it was in the batter’s box.

    I hope you recover quickly from the rib injury.

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