Day 1: Aybar, Segura & irony …
One of Jean Segura‘s biggest mentors on the Angels’ big league club is actually the man some believe he can one day replace.
Shortstop Erick Aybar, a pending free agent who still hasn’t agreed to a contract extension, is actually pretty tight with Segura, a 21-year-old developing shortstop who has a lot of raw talent but still needs plenty of games under his belt before being big league ready. They both hail from the Dominican, and while Aybar lives a little too far (a two-hour drive) for them to regularly train together in the offseason, Segura counts on Aybar (seven years his senior) for advice throughout the year.
“I get along well with him,” Segura said in Spanish. “I have a lot of respect for him and we talk very often. He’s always giving me advice.”
Segura, the Angels’ No. 2 prospect, is in his second big league camp and will probably start the season in Double-A. He’s deceivingly fast, has really grown as a hitter, boasts a great arm and overall has a world of talent. But he still needs to grow as a shortstop and, most importantly, he has to stay healthy after missing big chunks of 2009 (broken ankle and finger) and 2011 (torn hamstring) due to injury.
As for what his conversations have been like with Aybar this year?
“We’ve just talked about the game, about our training, about how you need to have a positive mindset when you’re injured,” Segura said. “Thankfully he’s there for me, because he’s a guy who knows how to have success in this league.”
Some notes from Monday, the Angels’ first full-workout day …
- Bobby Abreu addressed the media regarding his previous comments on preferring a trade if he isn’t an everyday player. Abreu didn’t really back off on his desire to continue to play every day, but he seemed content with the compromise of roughly 400 plate appearances this season. The prevailing question: Is that number realistic? More on Abreu here.
- Albert Pujols is already turning some heads. Today, he hit some pretty hard line drives against lefty Brad Mills while hitting in the main field in his first live-BP session. It was a rather uneventful workout today, sure. But at this point in the spring, pitchers are usually ahead of the hitters because they’ve been throwing for about a week. I think Albert can start the regular season right now if he wanted to.
- Peter Bourjos doesn’t feel like his right-hip injury will be a problem this season, but he plans on having surgery to get it cleaned up next offseason. He would’ve done it this past fall, but he didn’t realize it was an ongoing problem until around mid-November. At that point, surgery would’ve backed him up in Spring Training. Just not worth it, doctors felt.
- Speaking of Segura’s injuries, the young shortstop feels he might’ve addressed the hamstring issues that bothered him in 2011 with the simplicity of an insole.
- Owner Arte Moreno said on The Jim Rome Show that the “El Hombre” billboards probably won’t be part of the club’s marketing campaign any longer.
- Kendrys Morales went from running in a straight line to making cuts on the outfield grass. Mesmerizing, I know. But any step is a big one for him at this point. Mike Scioscia said he’ll continue that for about two weeks, then start running the bases, then get in games (he hopes).
- As for Scioscia, he was back after fighting what he believed was some food poisoning on Sunday. He was his normal self — as evidenced by his usual snark towards us media members.
- An interesting site on the backfields today: Uber-prospect Mike Trout taking live batting practice off new starter C.J. Wilson. Sure, Trout was only tracking pitches and didn’t even swing the bat. But still.
- Don’t go looking for Mark Trumbo tomorrow. He’ll be in Los Angeles, getting his right foot re-imaged in hopes of progressing towards full baseball activities. He told me he’s feeling really good going in.
- And my Heat didn’t do so well in All-Star Game Weekend from Orlando. James Jones and Mario Chalmers didn’t win the 3-Point Shootout on Saturday, and while LeBron James (36 points) and Dwyane Wade (triple-double) put up numbers in Sunday’s main event, they didn’t come through in the end. (Hey, it’s just an All-Star Game, OK!) LeBron had a costly turnover when they were trailing by two and Wade missed the 3-pointer that would’ve won them the game at the buzzer. … Yes, I’m a Heat fan. Big Heat fan. Sorry.
With full workouts now underway, look for daily updates here. I plan on featuring a different prospect every weekday, providing some analysis on the weekends and constantly trying to summarize the day as efficiently as possible. Tell your friends.