Angels to attend separate service

Updated: April 14, 2009, 9:26 PM ET
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- To honor pitcher Nick Adenhart, Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno will lead a contingent of eight team members to a private funeral service in Maryland this week between West Coast night games.

Angels general manager Tony Reagins said Tuesday that Moreno has arranged a jet to fly the owner, the GM, manager Mike Scioscia, team executive Tim Mead, pitching coach Mike Butcher, plus pitchers Dustin Moseley, Jered Weaver and John Lackey from Seattle after Wednesday night's game.

Scioscia said he and the players will get back to Seattle in time for that night's series finale against the Mariners -- though he emphasized the focus should remain on Adenhart's family and not the Angels.

"We're going to support Nick's family. That's what this is about," a somber Scioscia said Tuesday before his grieving team began the three-game series against the Mariners. "It's about us doing what we can do to let them know the magnitude and how we feel their loss also.

"But it's about them losing a son, and that's the perspective."

The 22-year-old rookie and two friends were killed Thursday when a driver whom police say was drunk ran a red light and hit their car in Fullerton, Calif.

The Angels will be attending a service separate from the one a funeral home said will be held Friday at Williamsport High School, where Adenhart played as a teen.

Scott Osborne of Osborne Funeral Home said Tuesday that the 7 p.m. ceremony will be closed to news media at the family's request.

Andrew Thomas Gallo, 22, of San Gabriel, Calif., has been charged with three counts of murder in the deaths of Adenhart, 20-year-old driver Courtney Stewart of Diamond Bar, Calif., and 25-year-old passenger Henry Pearson of Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Adenhart was to pitch Tuesday's game against the Mariners. Instead, Shane Loux made his first start of the season, while his lost teammate's grey game jersey with No. 34 and "Adenhart" stitched in red faced out of his locker in the clubhouse. A bouquet of yellow roses sat alone in a vase on the front shelf of Adenhart's locker.

The chilling scene caught the glances of teammates, for whom the pain and memories of Adenhart's passing are still fresh.

"As humanely possible as it is [to cope], it's been tough," Torii Hunter said.

The team plans to keep Adenhart's locker intact throughout the season, at home and on the road.

"He was a good kid, man," Hunter said, standing almost directly across the clubhouse from Adenhart's locker. "It could have happened to any one of us. I left at 11:35 p.m. that night, and he had the accident at 12:24. So it could have been any of us in this clubhouse. Sometimes, that's what gets us, too.

"He was 22. He was young. He probably had dreams of having kids and a wife, just raising a family, man, not just baseball. This is real. Life is fragile."

The 33-year-old Hunter said many of the younger Angels are dealing with losing someone close to them for the first time. That has slowed the team's healing process.

Hunter has been a counselor to many teammates, because he has gone through losing many friends before this latest one.

"You lose a teammate, you are with that guy more than your kids, more than your mom and dad. You are with your teammates every day," Hunter said. "That's tough, man. That's tough to swallow."

On the field, "our safe haven," according to Hunter, the Angels have persevered. Entering Tuesday, they had won two of the first three games following Adenhart's death, at home against Boston.

Then again, as Scioscia said softly: "The easiest thing is the baseball."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press