Kotchman, Lackey headline wild day
First baseman traded to Atlanta; ace has near no-no
BOSTON -- As Casey Kotchman said his goodbyes to many in and outside the visitors' clubhouse before Tuesday's game at Fenway Park, an ordinary game day became anything but for the Angels, thanks to John Lackey.
Less than an hour before Tuesday's first pitch, equipment manager Ken Higdon and communications vice president Tim Mead were just two of the club staffers who hurried to get Kotchman out of Fenway and on his way to Storrow Drive toward Logan Airport for a 7:30 p.m. ET flight to Atlanta after Kotchman and Minor League pitcher Steve Marek were dealt to the Braves for slugger Mark Teixeira.
"I'm just excited to go to Atlanta and play for Bobby Cox," Kotchman said. "At the same time, my teammates here, to leave them, I'll be pulling for them. Other than that, there's really not a whole I can say."
On its own merits, the acquisition of a perennial All-Star first baseman would steal the headlines and overshadow the game itself. But this night at Fenway would hardly pass for normal, under any circumstances.
The dust had barely settled in the clubhouse when Lackey threw his first pitch in the bottom of the first.
It would be the first of 120, on a night that Lackey wasn't about to give up top-billing so easily.
Lackey came within two outs of a no-hitter before allowing a single to Dustin Pedroia and a two-run homer to Kevin Youkilis.
"Casey was a huge part of our team," Lackey said in acknowledging his former teammate after throwing his gem. "He was a guy, early in the season when we weren't scoring a lot of runs, that was getting a lot of key hits who was really key in our production."
Then there was Jeff Mathis, the Angels catcher who was admittedly nervous as Lackey got closer and closer to what would have been his first career no-hitter.
"It's been a bittersweet day, especially with Kotch being with us," Mathis said. "You feel kind of down about seeing him go, but you're getting a good player and, on top of that, John goes out and gives his performance. It's been an exciting day."
Skipper Mike Scioscia wasn't in the mood to play news editor to determine which was the bigger story.
"It's a good day to see John Lackey pitch that well," Scioscia said. "It's great that he pitches back-to-back games against a tough lineup like the Red Sox and is able to beat them twice. There's a lot of good things we're going to take from that. Teixeira, we'll move forward with that one, but, right now, we're just happy to get another win here tonight."
But hardly just another day for the Angels.
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.