The Los Angeles Angels returned to the field with heavy hearts on Tuesday (July 2) night, just one day after 27-year-old pitcher Tyler Skaggs died. There was a moment of silence before the game and Angels pitchers Andrew Heaney and Cam Bedrosian held Skaggs' number 45 jersey as the team lined up outside the visitor's dugout. They also wore a patch with his number above their hearts.
"It was just kind of something unplanned. His jersey was hanging in his locker. We wanted to take him out there with us one more time," Heaney said after the game. "He was definitely my best friend. There's probably about 100 other people out there that would say he was their best friend, too, because he treated everybody like that."
The Rangers painted Skaggs' number behind the mound and Angels starter Jose Suarez wrote 45 in the dirt with his finger before throwing his first pitch.
The Angels would go on to defeat the Rangers by a score of 9-4. After the game, the Angels held an emotional press conference in which the players broke down in tears while recounting their memories of Skaggs.
"Today it was just different, and there's no playbook on how it's supposed to go today, and you're supposed to act and react," Kole Calhoun said. "But getting back to the game definitely is what he would have wanted. Today was a day that we leaned on each other like we really needed to do."
Mike Trout said that it was important for them to play the game to honor Skaggs' dedication.
"It's just a tough 24 hours," said Trout. "We're getting through it. Tough playing out there today, but like [manager] Brad [Ausmus] said, Skaggsy wouldn't have wanted us to take another day off."
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