Former hurler Abbott shares message with Halos

Former hurler Abbott shares message with Halos

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Jim Abbott, the one-handed pitcher who shined with the Angels, threw a no-hitter with the Yankees and became an inspiration for all, makes his living as a motivational speaker these days. Two or three times a month, he'll fly all over the country to talk to all kinds of organizations, from charities to schools to the Special Olympics.

His most memorable talk came Monday morning, when Mike Scioscia asked him to address the team prior to its workout at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

"I was nervous," said Abbott, who's in camp as a special guest instructor for three days. "It's a hardened, jaded Major League clubhouse. I remember when I was sitting there like, 'What's this gonna be about? More talking, more sitting in my chair.' So, it was real quick."

Abbott's message:

"I understand how hard Spring Training is. For a lot of guys in this room, this is a stressful time. It's learning a new pitch, it's fighting for a job, it's working on your swing. And sometimes what gets lost is that pristine grass out there, and these sparkling white pants, and these shoes that you're playing with, and these gloves that you're playing with. This is a point where you should stop and say, 'This is a great moment in time. No matter how hard I'm battling on the field, this is a great moment in my life.'"

Abbott, a product of Michigan who now resides in Corona Del Mar, Calif., was taken by the Angels as the eighth overall selection in the 1988 First-Year Player Draft and spent five and a half of his 10 years in Anaheim, compiling 87 wins and a 4.25 ERA from 1989-99 despite being born without a right hand.

Asked if he missed being around baseball, Abbott said: "I didn't really think I did until I got here."

But coaching baseball will remain a part-time role for him.

"I've got two girls who are growing up," Abbott said. "I know how hard the commitment, the time, is. I really like what I'm doing. I get a chance to share some of the same things that I learned here in a completely different environment, and that has been incredibly rewarding, in maybe a more appropriate way."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.