Anaheim native Jose Rojas talks about his MLB debut with the Angels

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Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Anaheim native Jose Rojas talks about his debut with the Angels
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Angels rookie Jose Rojas is living out his dream of playing in the big leagues in the city where he was born.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Los Angeles Angels third baseman Jose Rojas is living a dream. He's playing for the team he grew up watching as a kid in Anaheim.

"Walking into the stadium through the players entrance rather than the fan entrance is surreal. I can't put into words what that's like," said Rojas.

The 28-year-old made his Major League Baseball debut last month after being drafted in the 36th round and spending about five years in the minors. He says he's gotten more comfortable as he goes - starting with a sigh of relief after his first major league hit last month.

"Just getting that first one out of the way definitely felt great. The feeling was unbelievable. So much gratitude running through my head and excitement for that first one," he said.

Rojas' parents immigrated from Mexico and although baseball became his passion, school was always the priority for a better life. He thanks them for supporting his pursuit of the American dream... and for all the food!

"Homemade cooked meals from my family for sure," he laughed. "I miss those every time I leave for baseball season, so as crazy as that sounds, home-cooked meals from my family is the best."

Rojas graduated from Anaheim High School, then played at Fullerton College and eventually Vanguard University under coach Rob Pegg, who is super proud to see his success.

"This is surreal. This guy's going to the field, looks around. Who are his teammates? He's looking across, greatest hitter of all-time Albert Pujols, looks out to center, greatest player in the game now, (Mike) Trout, (Shohei) Ohtani," said Pegg.

He knows the value of having a local boy going pro in his own backyard.

"They've got so many of the superstars, and then you have this hometown kid that has a personal connection to many people, and it's like a little part of you is there," Pegg said.

"Every step of the way I just gotta thank God for the opportunity and the Angels for allowing me to achieve this childhood dream," said Rojas.

It'll be an exciting week for Rojas. The Angels play at home this week against the Tampa Bay Rays before hosting the Dodgers starting Friday.