Roth surprised as trip to majors gets fast-tracked

wtsmith@greenvilleonline.comApril 19, 2013 

While there were many doubters, Michael Roth has always been confident he could one day make it to the Major Leagues.

Even the former South Carolina and Riverside High School star would have to admit the quickness of his advance was a bit of a surprise as the Los Angeles Angels opted to promote the left hand pitcher a week ago.

“I had no clue” said Roth, who was competing with the Arkansas Travelers in the AA Texas League. “It was a total surprise.”

That was just the beginning as, following an overnight trip to Los Angeles, Roth found himself on the mound in relief.

His initial outing could not have gone better as he struck out four in the two inning stint.

“Coming out of the pen, basically as a reliever, you just have to be ready to go at any given moment,” said Roth. “That’s what I tried to do, stay ready. Even though I had been traveling all day, I knew there was a chance I might get in and, sure enough, I was able to get in.”

Despite having pitched in a lot of big games as the Gamecocks Friday night starting pitcher, taking the mound for the first time as a Major Leaguer was special.

“Honestly, once I got on the mound and throwing warm up pitches, it felt like another baseball game,” said Roth. “It felt like I was back where I should be, on the mound. That is kind of how it needs to because it is still baseball.

“Although it’s playing for the Angels, the big league club, you still have the same baseball in your hands. It wasn’t overwhelming. I guess playing in front of as many people as we had in Omaha kind of prepared me for that as well.”

Roth has only thrown five innings with Arkansas, posting a 1-0 record with a 0.00 ERA. He has allowed four hits and a walk, while striking out three during that span. He had logged only 27 innings in his minor league career after signing with the Angels late in the 2012 season.

He has since had another quality outing allowing one run on one hit, while striking out two in two relief innings against the Minnesota Twins. He was not involved in the decision.

More exciting than finding himself on the mound so quickly in his initial performance was watching Los Angeles rally in the ninth to earn a 5-4 walk-off victory. That allowed Roth to pick up his first major league win.

“From a personal standpoint it was awesome,” Roth said of the win. “But also, the team had been struggling. We’re still struggling. The win was exciting, but coming from behind like that and have a walk-off was incredible and for them to be able to do it while I was doing it kind of topped off a great day.”

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