ANAHEIM — It’s been a crazy year for first baseman Mike Ford, who has not only played for four major league teams, but also for four Triple-A clubs.
But Ford, who was called up by the Angels on Thursday, has made the most of his opportunity with his new club as he returned for a second straight game in Tuesday’s 7-4 loss to the Yankees at Angel Stadium. Ford, who is in line to get regular playing time at first base with Jared Walsh out for the season with thoracic outlet syndrome, is hitting .364 (8 for 22) with two homers, two RBIs and two walks in six games with angels
His work has impressed interim manager Phil Nevin, who knows Ford well, as Ford played with the Yankees from 2019-21 when Nevin was New York’s third base coach.
“He looked really good,” Nevin said. “He’s getting the ball up. That’s one thing when he got here that we talked about. He has hit more balls in the air. The last two nights have been really good.”
But it was a long road for Ford to get to the Angels this season, as he has been designated for assignment four times this year, including twice by the Mariners. His roller-coaster road to the Angels included stops at Triple-A Tacoma (Mariners organization), Giants for one game, Triple-A Sacramento (Giants organization), Mariners for a 16-game stretch, Triple-A Gwinnett (Braves organization ), Braves for five games and back to Gwinnett before being released by Atlanta on August 10.
Ford, 30, signed with the Angels as a minor league free agent on Aug. 16 and played in six games with Triple-A Salt Lake before his contract was purchased by the Angels on Thursday when Walsh was placed on the injured 60 – daily. list. Ford has two hits in four of the six games he has played with the Angels, including Monday and Tuesday against the Yankees.
“I’m just getting comfortable,” Ford said. “I don’t know how many times I’ve played three games in a row in the last three years. Just getting the consistency and the sticks has helped me a lot. It’s a very welcoming group. Just having Nev here, it’s very comfortable for me, knowing him before . It’s been a great start and I hope it continues.”
Ford said he was also heavily blocked against the Yankees, who signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Princeton University in 2013. He also dealt with suitors behind New York’s dugout on Monday and shut them down after being connects on a single to right-handed Frankie Montas in a 4-3 victory.
“It wasn’t for him [the Yankees]it was for a fan base that was really good to me the whole game,” Ford said of his silence move Monday. “It’s all fun and games, but I had to give something back to the fan base. [But] it’s always a good feeling. I’m definitely a bit more closed off. I made some good moves there.”
Ford’s second solo homer of the series came in the fifth inning on a 3-2 cutter from lefty reliever Lucas Luetge that he lined over the right-center field fence. Ford, a left-handed hitter, has actually fared well against lefties in his career, as eight of his 19 career strikeouts have come against southpaws. He has a career 1.002 OPS in 61 plate appearances against lefties, compared to a .662 OPS in 332 plate appearances against righties.
He also nearly connected on another homer in the seventh inning, only to see it fall short as he took a 2-1 changeup from right-hander Ron Marinaccio just a little too far and Aaron Judge made the catch in deep center. . . But Nevin said it was another promising sign from Ford, who had some success with the Yankees in ’19, when he slashed .259/.350/.559 with 12 homers and 25 RBIs in 50 games.
“He actually lost it in the seventh,” Nevin said. “He got the better part of the bat [on it], but there was only a tick under it. I like his swing. It looks a lot like ’19 when I was with New York and he had some big houses for us. He also has a chance to play every day, which probably helps a guy who hasn’t had that opportunity.”