This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com
As the Adenhart family and the Anaheim Angels deal with the sudden loss of a man at the beginning of a life most kids only dream about, it seems appropriate to recap the good things. Nick Adenhart had never played for the Boston Red Sox, and never pitched against the Red Sox in a major league game. However, despite these facts, Adenhart should be remembered for his brief yet successful career that had Red Sox connections.
During his professional career, Adenhart at one point or another shared roster spots with former Red Sox Lou Merloni, Bartolo Colon, and Darren Oliver. It’s difficult to determine if Merloni or Colon played in a game with Adenhart, but it is known that Darren Oliver pitched in Adenhart’s first two major league games when Adenhart came up for a cup of coffee in May of 2008.
Nick Adenhart’s first major league appearance came in a start against former Red Sox draft pick Justin Duchscherer now pitching for the Oakland Athletics. Duchscherer would last a bit longer than Adenhart in his first game, but gave up more runs than Adenhart. As a Red Sox factual aside, Duchscherer was the player sent to the Texas Rangers in 2001 when the Red Sox acquired Doug Mirabelli the first time.
In Adenhart’s second major league appearance, he pitched a bit better and combined with a relief corp that included Darren Oliver for a 5-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals. Also appearing that game was Tony Pena, son of former the Red Sox catcher with the shared name. Pitching in relief for the Royals was Ron Mahay, the former Red Sox who made the successful leap to the majors with the change to the pitcher’s mound in the minor league system.
Adenhart’s final start of the 2008 season came against the Chicago White Sox, where he pitched well enough to earn his first major league victory in five and a third innings. Adenhart faced 2004 Red Sox World Champion Orlando Cabrera, and “OCab” grounded out twice against the Angels’ young righty. Possible future hall of famer Jim Thome could not bring his usual thunderstick against Adenhart either, flying out and grounding out against the rookie. Adenhart did not appear in another game during 2008, but his growing dominance showed just a brief snapshot of his potential.
2 nights ago, Nick Adenhart took the mound for the last time and faced a revamped 2009 Oakland Athletics team that included 2004 World Series Champ Orlando Cabrera, former Red Sox franchise player Nomar Garciaparra, former Rockie slugger Matt Holliday, and past and present Oakland slugger Jason Giambi, among others. Proving himself to be a rising star, Adenhart kept the Athletics off the board for 6 solid innings, putting in his finest outing as a major league baseball player.