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Angels watch the famous story of Jose Quijada in World Baseball Classic – Orange County Register

Jose Quijada of Venezuela reacts after a strikeout to end the seventh inning during a 2023 World Baseball Classic quarterfinal game against the United States March 18, 2023 in Miami. In a pattern familiar to the Angels, the next inning didn’t go so well. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Watching the USA-Venezuela game on Saturday night, manager Phil Nevin had an inkling of what was about to happen.

Angels left-hander Jose Quijada punched Kyle Tucker to help Venezuela progress through the seventh inning with a lead, leaving the mound at an emotional high. Venezuela then brought back Quijada for eighth place.

“We’ve seen Q on the field before and you saw what he did after that,” Nevin said Sunday, referring to Quijada’s on-field celebration after the strikeout. “Putting him back in the next inning wasn’t the best idea.”

Quijada went two and hit a batter in the eighth and loaded the bases just before Trea Turner hit a game-changing grand slam against Silvino Bracho.

Nevin hinted that after such an emotional moment, Quijada is struggling to get back to the same level. Last year, Nevin said Quijada tends to be less effective in less electrifying moments — like pitching in front of a small crowd in Oakland.

Obviously in the big league a helper has to be dependable in any atmosphere and Nevin said Quijada gets there.

“I think he did a better job at the end of the season last year,” Nevin said. “Then earlier this spring a couple of games he pitched here the pace had picked up. I like the way he went about his business and he shot well. … I think he will be fine. He’s learning what to do to prepare to get out when he leaves the bullpen.”

The 27-year-old Quijada had a 3.98 ERA for the Angels last season, throwing almost exclusively fastballs. This season he is trying to add more changes to his repertoire.

EJECT TRACKING

A day after Ryan Tepera was first kicked out of a spring training game, the Angels right-hander was keen to explain what happened.

Tepera had allowed two runs in the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers, including a two-run homer by Marcus Semien. He was just walking off the hill when plate referee Bill Miller approached him to check for foreign objects.

“Obviously a little frustrated with my coming out,” Tepera said on Sunday. “Give up four hard-hit balls and go off the mound. I’m checked. He checks my hand like most umpires do. I take a few steps to the shelter and he says, ‘Hey, come back son.’ So I’m like ‘What?’

“He continues to check my hand again. Check my glove. Like every inch of my glove. Every tip. He put his hand inside. And I said, ‘Is that necessary?’ And he says: ‘I’m the referee for the boss team, I can do what I want.’ I said, “Oh, is that right?” And then he says, ‘Show me your hat.’ So he checks my hat.

“Then he says, ‘While you’re at it, let me check your belt.’ So I started taking my belt off and he said, ‘Son, if you take your belt off, I’ll kick you out of this game.’ I took off my belt and gave it to him, and he threw me down.”

Umpires have been checking pitchers for foreign matter since 2021, but last season it was just quick, cursory checks of the pitcher’s hands. Major League Baseball reportedly sent teams a memo this week letting them know controls would be more thorough this season.

Tepera did not appreciate such a check at the time.

“It’s frankly disrespectful, man to man,” Tepera said. “It has nothing to do with being controlled. This is how he did it and what he said to me. I am a grown man. Don’t treat me like a child. That’s my problem with it.”

FLETCHER RETURNS

David Fletcher was back at the Angels clubhouse on Sunday after playing for Italy at the World Baseball Classic, including a matchup against Shohei Ohtani in Italy’s quarterfinal loss to Japan. Fletcher had a hit in two at-bats against Ohtani.

“He was fun to face,” Fletcher said. “He definitely competed out there and gave everything he had. He was there. Being on his other side was definitely something I was looking forward to.”

REMARKS

Infielder Brandon Drury was absent from the lineup for the second day in a row because of a bruised calf. Nevin said Drury was ready to play but the manager opted for him to take another day off. Drury still scored in the morning and did defensive drills. …

Nevin said Patrick Sandoval may not line up as planned in the Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium next Sunday. Nevin said the Angels may decide Sandoval needs a less intense atmosphere — like a minor league game — between pitching for Mexico in the WBC semifinals on Monday and his first regular season start on April 2.

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