Professional ballplayers who have flirted with being an everyday member of an MLB roster will tell you, while getting there is hard, staying there is exceptionally hard. Part 1 of this series introduced a couple of success stories, Ryan Vogelsong and Jerome Williams, launched from the Salt Lake baseball franchise.
The next two pitchers followed very different paths to get to the show. What they had in common is they both got their break while wearing a Salt Lake jersey.
Relief pitcher Brendan Donnelly played for nine organizations before getting signed to a minor league contract with the Anaheim Angels. He started the 2001 season with the Double-A Arkansas Travelers and by midseason was promoted to the Triple-A Salt Lake Stingers.
Watching Donnelly pitch at Franklin Covey Ballpark (now Spring Mobile Ballpark) was to observe intensity personified. Stingers pitching coach Rich Bombard liked to use hand signals to let the bullpen know who he wanted to start warming up. For the burly reliever, Bombard would place his index fingers on both sides of the top of his head, like a charging bull.
Donnelly made his major league debut with the Angels in 2002, as a 30-year old. Along with the brilliant Scot Shields, Donnelly was a setup man for closer Troy Percival as the Angels went from wild card team to 2002 World Series winners. In 2003, Donnelly was selected to the MLB All-Star Game, a rare accolade for a middle-relief pitcher. He went on to play for seven more years in the majors, retiring in 2011.
I had the best year  of my career. And being in this clubhouse with these guys, was, the funnest I’ve had in 16 years. —Shane Loux
In 2007, Shane Loux was out of baseball and wondering what he was going to do with his life. As with Williams, Loux had been a highly touted prospect, drafted in the second round by the Detroit Tigers in 1997. He made his major league debut in 2002, but couldn’t stick. In 2004, Loux had Tommy John surgery. After losing the 2005 season to rehab, Loux was released by the Tigers. He pitched in the Kansas City Royals minor league system in 2006. In 2007, he was signed by the Mariners and released before the start of the season.
If not for the keen eye of Rich Barker, who had pitched in the Chicago Cubs farm system, the 27 year old sinkerball pitcher might have been stuck playing beer-league softball for the rest of his life. Barker alerted Los Angeles Angels regional scout John Gracio, and after a tryout with the Angels, Loux found himself on the 2008 opening day roster for the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees.
Loux made the most of his second chance, pitching well enough to get called up to the Angels in early August and still get named 2008 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year. Since then Loux has appeared in 58 MLB games for the Angels and San Francisco Giants. Loux re-signed with the Giants over the winter and is competing for a spot in the bullpen as a non-roster invitee this spring.