OAKLAND — Dane De La Rosa has condor-like qualities, with a long wing span on his 6-foot-7, 245-pound frame, but that isn’t why his teammates were calling the Angels reliever “Birdman” Thursday night.
During the bottom of the third inning of the Angels’ 8-3 win over the Oakland Athletics in the Oakland Coliseum, De La Rosa was captured by a television camera carrying a pigeon, with both hands, from the bullpen, which is situated down the right-field line, to the dugout.
The bird was apparently trapped in the bullpen area or couldn’t find a way out, so De La Rosa grabbed it, walked it up the tunnel from the dugout to the clubhouse and all the way out the back door of the stadium, releasing it in the parking lot.
De La Rosa’s rescue, at least the part that took place on the field, was aired on ESPN’s SportsCenter show late Thursday night. While it drew praise from animal lovers, there were also some concerns about the health risks of such a move.
The right-hander, who retired the side in order in the eighth inning, was not immediately available after the game, but on his Twitter account De La Rosa wrote:
“Thank you for all the kind words and helpful warnings. After the release back to the wild, I made sure to wash my hands … twice.”