Baltimore Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez honored his friend and former minor league teammate Nick Adenhart, who was killed by a drunk driver in a car accident in April 2009, by using a glove Friday night that Adenhart gave him two years earlier.
Gonzalez made his first major league start at Angel Stadium in front of 200 family members and friends. He went to high school in Southern California and signed with the then Anaheim Angels as an undrafted free agent in 2004. He played with Adenhart in the Angels' system for two seasons.
The right-handed throwing Gonzalez, using the glove Adenhart gave him in 2007 as a gift, tossed seven innings of three-hit ball before a crowd of 42,716 in the Orioles' 3-2 victory over the Angels.
While Gonzalez has held on to the Rawlings glove for five years, he had never used it in a game before Friday.
"I thought it was the perfect time to do it," he told MLB.com.
Gonzalez always keeps the glove close to him as a reminder of his fallen friend.
"We were pretty close," Gonzalez said of Adenhart. "We played together for two years. I'm with him in my heart and obviously their family, I'm with them, too. It wasn't an easy thing for them."
After playing four minor league seasons with the Angels, Gonzalez missed 2008 with a knee injury and ended up with the Boston Red Sox as a Rule 5 Draft pick. He missed 2009 after having Tommy John surgery. He pitched in the Red Sox lower minors until he was released last December.
The Orioles picked up Gonzalez in February after a stint in the Mexican Winter League. He got called up after a 1.61 ERA in 14 appearances (six starts) in the minors.
"All the hard work, the ups and downs I've had, obviously that pushed me back a little bit, but I'm here now," Gonzalez said.