Ricky Nolasco Is Home

Ricky Nolasco is home, pitching for a team in Southern California. A place he can be happy.

ANAHEIM -- Monday afternoon, Ricky Nolasco was told to hold off for a minute or two on throwing a bullpen session. Soon after, he was on the phone with Twins' interim GM, Rob Antony. Another phone call took place right after.

Nolasco called his mother, and told her he'd been traded to the Angels. The Angels, in Anaheim, California, one hour from where he was born.

"She flipped out," said Nolasco. "It kind of came as a bit of a surprise, but she's happy. Really happy."

In a trade with plenty of oddities, such as Hector Santiago going to Minnesota and a former top prospect heading to Anaheim, one forgotten item came to focus. Ricky Nolasco landed in his native territory of Southern California.

Tuesday, Nolasco was cruising the Angels' clubhouse, introducing himself to new teammates, meeting new coaches, and all with a new slate, and an ERA that didn't read 5.13 like it did in Minnesota, but instead: 0.00.

"I understand what happened there, but I'm just focused on helping the Angels win games here. I made a lot of good life-long friends on this side, but I'm excited."

In his three-year tenure with the Twins, Nolasco didn't perform well, posting a 15-22 record and 5.44 ERA in 57 games.

"I think I pitched better than what numbers say, but it is what it is. I'm not focusing on that anymore, I'm just focused in on my next start and going start-by-start from here on out."

Maybe time to turn the page? A common term used by Angels' manager, Mike Scioscia, who sees the value in his new pitcher.

"He's always been tough on us," said Scioscia. "Another pitcher maybe trying to adapt a little bit, and find some consistency, but his stuff is good."

Another sign in the right direction for the newest member of the Angels' rotation, who will see his first game come Thursday night against the Oakland A's, is how well he's performed against the AL West opponents. In AL West parks, Nolasco has a career 3.63 ERA and 1.069 WHIP, the lowest of any division across the Majors for both statistics.

One thing is guaranteed, Nolasco is happy. He's pitching close to his family and friends, who he said is a large enough support group to fill Angel Stadium.

"It means a lot to my family" Nolasco said. "If they're happy, I'm happy. Anytime I'm in California, I'm happy."

Ricky Nolasco is home.


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