"He was with us in Texas, and he was pretty temperamental when he was younger," Adair said. "I don't know what I would have done [in that situation], but what he did was unbelievable. And, to know his history, and to know he could get a little explosive at times when he was younger, to see him handle that. I told him in our group meeting, I told him I couldn't be any more proud of his professionalism."
Of course, Galarraga could not have realized at that very moment that what was happening would make his "near-perfect" game probably the second-most-famous perfect game in baseball history, behind the one Don Larsen pitched for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series. He does realize that now.
"The special thing is, I made 28 outs," he said. "I got my 27, but then I had to get one more. I'm really proud of it. It was a dream come true. It was a great experience, but it's over. It's 2012 and I'm trying to make a team and help this team."
Which brings us back to how this great storyline landed in Sarasota this spring. Galarraga was pitching hurt when he beguiled the Indians for nine innings on just 88 pitches, and he would not be pitching for the Tigers much longer.
That game was one of just four victories in 24 starts in 2010, so — great guy or not — the Tigers signed free-agent starter Brad Penny before the 2011 season and traded Galarraga to the Arizona Diamondbacks for two minor league pitchers.
"He's a wonderful person and he handled himself as well as anyone could have in that situation, but we just felt that Penny would be ahead of him," said Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski. "I hope things work out very well for him. You can't handle a situation with any more class. Clearly, he knew the call wasn't correct, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him."
Galarraga holds no bitterness toward the Tigers. He was grateful for the trade that allowed him to remain a starting pitcher, though his elbow problem worsened in Arizona and he underwent surgery to remove bone chips in August.
Now he just has to prove that he's healthy enough to maintain consistent velocity and command if he is to move far enough up the depth chart to make a legitimate bid for a place in the major league rotation.
"I feel great … unbelievable," he said. "My velocity is back. I was down to 85-86, and now I'm back to 93-94, but you're going to see [what happens] in the games. The games are going to speak for themselves. I believe in myself, but I need to have a good spring training. I know that."
The opportunity is there. The Orioles have a lot of candidates for the rotation, but there could be several spots in play over the next six weeks.
"We need consistent, solid, durable starting pitchers," Duquette said. "Anyone who meets that requirement has a good chance to be in our rotation."
Listen to Peter Schmuck when he hosts "The Week in Review" on Fridays at noon on WBAL (1090AM) and wbal.com.
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