Los Angeles coach breaks leg during ceremonial first pitch

ESPN staff
April 1, 2014
Don Baylor and Vladimir Guerrero are the only American League MVPs in Los Angeles Angels' history © AP

Los Angeles Angels' 2014 season got off to a rocky start after hitting coach Don Baylor broke his right leg while catching Vladimir Guerrero's ceremonial first pitch on Monday.

The Angels announced that Baylor, who had to be carried off the Angel Stadium pitch, will undergo surgery on his right femur on Tuesday.

The injury cast a shadow over Opening Day. Baylor, who joined the Angels' coaching staff in the off-season, had to be helped off the field after squatting to catch Guerrero's off-target throw.

Baylor, 64, was taken to a hospital before the Angels' 10-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Don right now," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Obviously it's a freak [injury]. We'll see how it turns out."

Baylor failed to stand up after Guerrero's throw, his right leg bending awkwardly beneath him while he was held up by Guerrero, who initially thought Baylor was kidding around. Two team employees helped Baylor to the dugout, leaving the Angels in disbelief on the field.

"It got me sick when I was warming up and hearing what happened in the dugout," said Mike Trout, who hit a two-run homer in the first inning.

Baylor is a survivor of multiple myeloma, a cancer that attacks bone marrow. He was diagnosed with the cancer in 2003 and he is active in fundraising efforts to combat the disease.

He left the Arizona Diamondbacks in the off-season to return to Anaheim, where he played six seasons with the California Angels.

Baylor replaced Jim Eppard as the Angels' hitting coach in October. Los Angeles also hired assistant hitting coach Dave Hansen, who was the Mariners' hitting coach last season.

Baylor and Guerrero are the only American League MVPs in Angels' franchise history. Baylor won the award in 1979 during arguably the best season of his 19-year major league career with seven teams.

Guerrero threw the ceremonial first pitch to celebrate his retirement with the Angels on a one-day contract.

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