Spring Training — the good, the bad …
With one day left until Opening Day, I figured I’d take one final look at Spring Training overall, with a final version of The Good and The Bad (minus Clint Eastwood).
* The top three members of the lineup — Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols. We already knew Pujols was good, but the future Hall of Famer was locked in all spring, batting .383 with a team-leading seven homers and 20 RBIs in 23 games. Even more telling was that we have already begun to see what kind of impact Pujols can have on those hitting in front of him, with Aybar sporting a team-leading .389 batting average and Kendrick batting .383 with four homers and 15 RBIs.
* Kendrys Morales (left ankle) is healthy and ready to go. That was the biggest question all spring, and it was answered through 13 spring games that watched the switch-hitter bat .367 with a couple of homers (one from each side of the plate). As manager Mike Scioscia will constantly caution, Morales still needs to test his legs through the rigors of a full season. The crucial part is that he now can.
* The four starters — representing arguably the best foursome in baseball — got through it healthy and on track. Jered Weaver got hit around this spring, posting a 5.40 ERA in 18 1/3 innings. But he usually gets lit up in the Cactus League (look it up). Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and C.J. Wilson were lights out. They combined for a 1.72 ERA in 68 innings, with 13 walks and 62 strikeouts.
* The situation surrounding Bobby Abreu only grew cloudier. Two potential trades (to the Yankees and to the Indians) fell apart, Abreu hit only .127 (7-for-55) with no homers and now, with Morales healthy and Mark Trumbo continuing to produce, the amount of times Abreu will play this season have seemingly only decreased. Forget 400 plate appearances. I’m wondering if he’ll stay here through April.
* A bullpen that blew 25 saves last year and didn’t make any major changes didn’t provide any more positive signs. Right-handers Michael Kohn (forearm strain) and Bobby Cassevah (shoulder inflammation), who combined to make 44 appearances last season, will start the season on the disabled list. Jason Isringhausen struggled since being added to the 40-man roster, giving up six runs on 10 hits in 2 1/3 innings. And closer Jordan Walden was charged with six earned runs in 8 1/3 innings.
* Trumbo may not deserve a mention in the “bad” category, because he hit a ton this spring (.328 with six homers and 16 RBIs in 23 games) and did what general manager Jerry Dipoto called “yeoman’s work” at third base. But I’ll list him here because he still has work to do at his new position, where he made a team-leading four errors and misplayed a couple of balls in the just-completed Freeway Series. He’ll only get better as the season goes on, though.
See y’all on Opening Night.