Wheeler finds success with off-the-field project

Wheeler finds success with off-the-field project

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels' Ryan Wheeler is best known as a first baseman, third baseman and pinch-hitter, but he's also gaining a reputation a successful pitchman.

The budding entrepreneur and three of his college friends from Loyola Marymount University created an oral rehydration formula called Liquid I.V. three years ago "to change the way people think about hydration." The product is now available in 150 stores in Southern California, including eight Whole Food stores.

"They brought me a bottle of it when I was at Dodger Stadium playing for the Rockies in 2013," said Wheeler, who is nursing a sore left quadriceps muscle. "It was the prototype. It was really good and it went from there."

The infielder said his group auditioned for ABC's "Shark Tank," a television show for entrepreneurs, and narrowly missed the cut.

"We made the video and made top 60 out of a few thousand that year," Wheeler said. "They took 50. It ended up being a blessing in disguise because we improved our formula from there, got our sales up and got into Whole Foods."

Wheeler, who has played in 109 games in parts of three Major League seasons, was claimed off waivers from the Rockies by the Angels last August. The club designated him for assignment the next month and outrighted him to Triple-A Salt Lake.

Wheeler said he has other projects in the works.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.