ANAHEIM, Calif. -- One pitcher surmounted tremendous odds to reach the major leagues this year at age 28. The other confronts them in trying to continue a once-stellar career.
Both will face each other Tuesday night when the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Angels meet at Angel Stadium.
The Reds' Tim Adleman will make his seventh start of the season nearly four months after his major league debut. The right-hander owns a 2-1 record and a 3.68 ERA but has allowed six home runs in 29 2/3 innings.
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The Angels' Jered Weaver, on the other hand, continues his three-year campaign against numerous injuries and diminishing velocity. The three-time All-Star, who tied for the most victories in the American League with 18 two years ago, now throws a fastball that averages between 83 and 84 mph.
Adleman began his career with the Baltimore Orioles, who selected him in the 24th round of the June 2010 draft. After being released in 2012, Adleman pitched for three independent minor-league teams in two seasons as a reliever. He caught the Reds' attention after compiling 10 saves and a 1.46 ERA in 40 appearances for the New Jersey Jackals of the Canadian-American Association in 2013.
Cincinnati signed Adleman that October, invited him to spring training this year as a non-roster player and sent him to Triple-A Louisville to start the season.
But nearly four weeks later, the Reds promoted Adleman when right-hander Raisel Iglesias went on the disabled list. He made his debut May 1 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Then while pitching May 19 against the Cleveland Indians, Adleman strained his left oblique muscle and joined Iglesias among the disabled. On Aug. 2, the Reds activated Adleman and sent him to Louisville but recalled him Aug. 16.
For Adleman, beating the odds meant relying on dogged persistence.
"It's a matter of still loving to play the game despite some organizations telling me I'm not good enough, and having the confidence in myself that I am good enough," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer in March. "I just need someone to give me the opportunity. That factored with a lot of people who said, 'If you feel you can still play, give it your best shot for as long as you can because once you shut it down, you can never get it back.'"
Weaver demonstrates similar tenacity despite his second successive poor season. Last year, the right-hander finished with a career-low seven wins and a career-worst 4.64 ERA while matching his career high with 12 losses. This year, he already has 11 defeats and a 5.31 ERA.
With his five-year contract expiring after the season, the 33-year old expressed his frustration after the Indians rallied from a 4-1 deficit for a 5-4 win on Aug. 14, the Angels' 10th successive defeat in an 11-game losing streak.
"This could be my last year and it's definitely not the way I want to go out," Weaver told MLB.com. "It's frustrating to sit back and watch."
Yet Weaver ruled out retirement after beating the Toronto Blue Jays in his last start Thursday night to end his four-game losing streak.
"I'm feeling better as we go on," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I just think it's going to take an offseason to figure this out and finally gain some strength back. There's still a lot of work to be done. But I'm looking forward to putting in the work to get back."