BALTIMORE -- The news slowly radiated out through the baseball fraternity on Thursday, touching people in unexpected places and unexpected ways. Nick Adenhart, a Maryland native and promising young pitcher with the Angels, was killed in a tragic automobile accident just hours after making his season debut.
"Even if you don't know the kid, it crushes you, and I had a great relationship with him," said Dean Albany, a longtime scout with the Orioles who saw Adenhart as an amateur. "I watched him pitch six innings last night. He came out of the game, and I brushed my teeth and went to bed and I woke up to the phone call."
Albany said he found out from a fellow scout who works for the Angels, and both lamented how the tragedy happened right at a time when Adenhart was beginning to find himself. The 22-year-old right-hander, a graduate of Williamsport High School in Maryland, had just begun to establish himself as a rotation fixture.
"It doesn't get much worse than that," Albany said. "It's just very upsetting. I was calling all the scouts I know, saying how it looked like Nick had turned the corner, talking about his mound presence, how mature he was on the mound. I said the Angels had done a great job with his delivery. And I wake up to this news."
Things were just as bad for right-hander Dennis Sarfate, who found out shortly before the Orioles took the field for warmups. Sarfate spent the winter working out with Adenhart in Arizona and said he was a likable young man with an astoundingly bright future ahead of him. Sarfate, like everyone else, was shaken by the news.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to his family," said Sarfate, who had also pitched in a game on Wednesday night. "And it's one of those things that hits home, and you just kind of want to go home and hang out for the day with your family just to get them close. It's sad. It's one of those things, you just can't plan for it."
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley told much the same story as Albany -- that of watching Adenhart start on Wednesday night and of being shocked to hear the news on Thursday.
"My son Kevin is with me, and [wife] Patty is with me because it's Spring Break this week and they're in from Daytona Beach, [Fla.]," said Trembley. "We went back to my apartment, and I wanted to watch the games -- and I don't want to watch National League games because I use the package that I have to scout. It really puts things in perspective. You don't take anything for granted, number one. Appreciate what you have. It's a real sad day for his family. I know I talked to Sarfate before I came out, reassured him. He worked out with the guy all winter, and I know one of our scouts, Dean Albany, is real close to the young man that passed away. It's not a good day."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.