The Return of Dallas McPherson


Dallas McPherson with a broken wrist plays catch at Provo in 2001.

FutureAngels.com was there last September when Dallas McPherson began his long journey back to the big leagues. Dallas made his first rehab appearance on September 21 in a game at the Chicago Cubs’ complex in Mesa. The next day, against the Milwaukee Brewers’ instructional team in a home game at Tempe, Dallas homered in front of a crowd of … well, a couple dozen first-year players with dreams of a major league career.

I got Dallas’ homer on video. Click Here to watch. You need Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection.

I’ve always been intrigued by Dallas’ career. I met him in 2001 at Provo. He was injured, having suffered a broken left wristplaying first base. A runner dove back into his arm on a pickoff play. Dallas was wearing a sling, but he was out in the field playing catch because he was so antsy to play. He left for home a couple days later, but watching him play catch in a sling was enough to tell me this is a guy who doesn’t give up easily.

Dallas suffered a lower back injury in the spring of 2003, but there was no reason to think it signalled a slow downward spiral. He reported a month late to Rancho Cucamonga, where on July 15 he hit a homer off a rehabbing Randy Johnson who was pitching for Lancaster. (I filmed that too; Click Here to watch.) McPherson ended 2003 with 23 homers and a late-season promotion to Arkansas. In 2004, Dallas hit 20 homers in Arkansas, another 20 for Salt Lake, and made his major league debut. The Angels let Troy Glaus walk as a free agent that winter, assuming Dallas was ready to go.

Three years later, McPherson has suffered one setback after another, enduring increasingly invasive surgeries hoping to correct the problem. The last surgery in January kept him out of action nine months, and he all but disappeared off the baseball radar.

In today’s Riverside Press-Enterprise, Angels beat writer Matt Hurst published an article about Dallas’ fall rehab. Hurst quoted McPherson:

"(My back) did better than I thought and better than a lot of other people thought," he said. "I was able play in back-to-back games, the end of games. The biggest thing is testing it out for five or six days in a row with a travel day in between, but we can’t test it until we get there."

Hurst wrote that "The Angels’ medical staff requested McPherson, who hit a combined 43 home runs in 2004, not play immediately in any winter league so he could continue to build up strength and stamina."

With Brandon Wood on the horizon, the Angels can’t afford to wait any longer for Dallas, but you can’t help but fantasize about a scenario that has a healthy McPherson at third base and Wood at shortstop. "Big Bat"?! There would be two of them.

5 Comments

I, too, entertain the fantasy of D-Mac hitting his way back to the MLB team. I watched him a couple times put pitches up on the hitters back drop in CF. This is something not even Vlad does that often. The guy has a legit power swing, and I’ve never blamed “Stonehead” for letting Glaus walk.

The only problem with my fantasy is Chone Figgins. I like the guy, I like his tremendous speed, and I like his numbers last year. What I don’t like is Mike’s insistence that he play every day, because he inevitably road blocks a position at which he has neither the defensive nor offensive abilities to play (3B). Our 4-man OF/DH rotation compounds the problem.

I suppose its inevitable that an injury will change the make up of this team at some point. And I’ll root for Dallas to be there (and healthy) to help our team win. DMac/Wood/Kendrick/Kotchman is not only great offensively and defensively, but well-balanced, and homegrown!

I love the thought of things working out the way Stephen suggested above. I was an Angels fan during the dark days of the all free agent teams. While I was very excited about the lineup posted in an earlier comment, I came to realize that I was watching a bunch of guys on the downhill side of their careers. Our only hope within a short period of time was to sign even more free agents. It became a depressing cycle of one old guy following another.

I started to follow teams building in a different, more refreshing way. They took their lumps to give the kids experience but in the long run were better off for it. Starting in the early 90′s the Braves, Blue Jays, Indians, and Tigers (to name a few) were the teams I was more likely to follow. Until the current decade when the Angels became fun to watch, too.

This team-building theory was undoubtedly a big part of the Dodgers success over the years. A path they have fallen off of under the new ownership and I have no plans to follow them in the near future. While I don’t think we’ll see an infield stay together the way the Dodgers stayed together in the 70′s/80′s, I’d much rather watch most of the team-building come from within. It’s way more fun and longer lasting. Hence, my interest in FutureAngels.

I’d like to see Wood or McPherson come through at third base (or as Stephen suggests, short and third would be even better!) but that’s the only position on the field where Figgins doesn’t worry me. So if all goes well in our scenario there will be no place for him. Maybe a Weaver/Figgins/? deal for Bedard?

Ouch! There goes that scenario. McPherson was non-tendered earlier today. Unless there’s something going on behind the scenes?

Or … there is a name I’ve completely forgotten about and maybe Stephen could comment on him. Does Kendry Morales have *any* ability to play third? While I love his game-altering speed this is still a good “sell-high” window for Figgins.

The Angels played Morales at 3B in three games with Rancho in his first season, 2005. Never since. I think that tells you what they thought of that experiment.

Yikes! That must have been some ugly third base.

Too bad about that overcrowded outfield. Last season I thought the switch-hitting Morales would look good at DH. Now it looks like DH will be a revolving door of outfielders.

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