Jonah Wesely just took a step forward as a Minor League Baseball pitcher.
Wesely, Tracy High Class of 2013, started the 2014 Minor League Baseball season last week with the Orem Owlz, the advanced rookie league affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels in Orem, Utah.
So far, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound left-handed pitcher has logged a save on June 17 and a no-decision on Saturday. Wesely, 19, said he felt comfortable as both reliever and starter, as long as he was able to keep moving forward.
“They haven’t found a role for me yet, but I’m here and happy to be here,” he said, adding that this week he prepared to pitch relief for the Owlz, who were 5-4 in the Pioneer League as of Tuesday .
Wesely said that his first game with the Owlz on June 17, a 5-2 win on the road against the Idaho Falls Chukars, was an exhilarating experience. He pitched two innings of relief and allowed no hits or runs for the save.
He followed that with a start on Saturday, getting no decision as the Owlz lost 15-4 to the Ogden Raptors in their second home game of the season at Brent Brown Ballpark.
Wesely gave up six hits and three runs and struck out two batters during the first four innings. He left the game with the Owlz ahead 4-3, but the Raptors tied it up in the fifth, took a 6-4 lead in the seventh and scored nine runs in the eighth inning on six hits, including a home run, and two errors.
Wesely was the Angels’ 11th-round draft pick last year. He pitched one inning in his first game with the Arizona Angels and didn’t play for the rest of the season as the team’s trainers helped him rehabilitate a lingering groin injury from his senior year at Tracy High.
Wesely said that by the end of December, he was back in action in off-season play. The Angels organization moved him to the Owlz on June 14, signifying his first step up in Minor League Baseball.
“I’ve been throwing well, so they made an aggressive move and put me in an advanced rookie league,” he said, adding that playing for the fans in Orem, a city of nearly 91,000 on the west shore of Utah Lake, just south of Salt Lake City, added to the excitement of the move.
“The biggest change is the atmosphere of playing in a different state,” he said.
The Owlz regularly draw 2,000 to 3,000 fans at their home games, with 3,840 attending their home opener June 16.
Contact Bob Brownne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830-4227.