Results tagged ‘ Andrew Romine ’
SP: RH Miguel Gonzalez (2-1, 4.60 ERA)
SP: LH Jason Vargas (0-3, 4.85)
- As you might have noticed, Callaspo was activated off the disabled prior to Friday’s game. But going down was Andrew Romine, not Luis Jimenez. Mike Scioscia likes having a power right-handed bat off the bench like Jimenez — it’s essentially the role Bill Hall was going to play, before he got hurt in Spring Training — and he feels Brendan Harris can be used as a utility infielder. A big question with this decision, however, is Harris’ defense. It’s not his strong suit. Offense is. Romine was a much more capable defender. And maybe Jimenez would’ve benefited from some more at-bats in the Minors to polish up his approach, which has led to a lot of strikeouts at this level.
- In tune with his new role, Jimenez was getting some work in left field pregame. Scioscia said right now he’s only comfortable using Jimenez there in an “emergency” situation, but perhaps that can change if he gets better at it.
- Garrett Richards is going back to the bullpen, with Jerome Williams taking his spot in the rotation on Sunday. The move makes sense on a couple of fronts. First and foremost, the Angels need a relief pitcher to bridge the gap to the later innings, and Richards can do that in what he said is “a primary role” in the back end. Williams has struggled as a starting pitcher in recent outings, but he’s been really good in long relief lately.
- Sean Burnett said today that he’s going to fly to Florida to see Dr. James Andrews on Monday morning. After that, he’ll fly to Houston to rejoin the team on their two-city trip. The lefty reliever, out since April 27 with left forearm irritation, didn’t sound very concerned. But it’s always frightening when pitchers see Dr. Andrews, so it’s definitely something worth monitoring.
- It looks like Scott Downs (pain in his right side) will avoid the DL. At least for now. He probably won’t be available Friday, but Scioscia is going to have him go through his normal pregame nonetheless.
- Mark Lowe (left neck strain) will pitch two innings for Class A Inland Empire on Sunday. He’s eligible to be activated that day, so that may be Lowe’s final outing before rejoining the team.
- Shortstop Tommy Field suffered a broken finger shortly after he was sent down on April 23. He’s on the 7-day Minor League DL and could miss a month.
Since his call-up, Jimenez (you can call him “Lucho”) has built somewhat of a cult following and has sparked the Angels, batting .355 while playing a much-improved defense at third base. Callaspo has been out since April 11 because of a right calf strain. He isn’t eligible to return until Saturday, and my guess is he’ll come back shortly after that (he basically just needs to be cleared to run).
When that does happen, what do the Angels do with Jimenez? Here’s a look at their options, under the assumption that shortstop Erick Aybar is already back on the roster by the time Callaspo comes back …
Keep him as the starting third baseman: Simply put, the Angels know who Jimenez is, and they like what Callaspo gives them. That’s why they signed Callaspo thru 2014 in the offseason, even though Jimenez was coming off a solid year in Triple-A. To go back on that three weeks into the season would be a bit of a knee-jerk, I’d say. But if Jimenez does keep the starting job, Callaspo could be a serviceable pinch-hitter off the bench because he’s a switch-hitter and he’s patient. He’d also be a nice late-game defensive replacement at the hot corner. But don’t get any thoughts of Maicer Izturis in your head. Callaspo certainly can’t handle shortstop, and I’m not sure how serviceable he can be at second base at this point (he’s played 12 games there since 2009).
For what it’s worth, Mike Scioscia gave Callaspo a ringing endorsement on Sunday, saying: “Alberto’s huge for our team – very important. He’s the type of guy that if Lucho wasn’t stepping up and playing so well, you’d really be pointing to him and saying how much we miss Alberto. And we need him back, for sure.”
Bring Jimenez off the bench: The positive is that he’d give the Angels some much needed power off the bench; the negative is that Jimenez isn’t all that versatile. He started to learn first base this spring, but that’s really all he plays. It’d be nice to have a right-handed bat off the bench capable of driving the ball, but how well would the 24-year-old Jimenez handle being a pinch-hitter. Young players like him don’t have any experience doing it. Keeping Jimenez would bring another tough decision for Scioscia, regarding sending down Brendan Harris or Andrew Romine. Harris has the better bat, Romine has the better glove.
Send Jimenez down to the Minors: This one would just feel, well, wrong. The sample size is still awfully small, but Jimenez has been a really nice spark for this team, not only with the bat, but with his energy and the way he carries himself. He just seems like he belongs here. If he keeps hitting, could the Angels really justify sending him back to Triple-A? Do they need both Harris and Romine off the bench, or could one do in order to keep Jimenez on the roster? It’s a question that may need an answer relatively soon.
Another nice day at Target Field. It isn’t expected to be tomorrow, with 100 percent chance of rain — that’s right, 100 percent! — at night. But hey, one day at a time, right? …
SP: LH Jason Vargas (0-1, 4.76 ERA)
SP: RH Mike Pelfrey (1-1, 7.36 ERA)
- Big step for Ryan Madson today, who threw his third bullpen session with one day in between for the third time and said it’s the “closest I’ve felt to normal.” He’ll face hitters for the first time on Friday, then should go out on a rehab assignment shortly thereafter. He doesn’t see a reason why he wouldn’t be activated off the DL before the end of April. This is the shot in the arm the Angels’ bullpen badly needs.
- Upon being activated, Mike Scioscia said he’d probably ease Madson in for a few outings, before potentially making him the closer. Madson doesn’t care either way. “Ernie [Frieri] is throwing the ball really well,” he said.
- Pelfrey, 29, had Tommy John surgery on May 1, basically three weeks after Madson, and is making his third start of the season. Surgery is always a mixed bag, though.
- Kevin Jepsen‘s MRI on Monday came back normal, but he’s undergoing some follow-ups on Tuesday.
- Alberto Callaspo didn’t end up fielding grounders on Monday, but he’s doing so on Tuesday.
Perhaps it’s too early for urgency. We are, in fact, just seven games into a 162-game season. But these are the Angels — the much-hyped Angels, with a $150-plus million payroll, tons of stars and the desire (necessity?) to get off to a much better start this year. As one player told me pregame, “We need an easy win today.”
SP: Tommy Milone (1-0, 2.57 ERA)
SP: Joe Blanton (0-1, 7.20 ERA)
- It doesn’t look good for Erick Aybar, who’s out of the lineup one day after exiting the game in the third inning with a left heel contusion. He’s in even more pain today than he was yesterday, and given his overall toughness, that isn’t a good sign. The Angels still haven’t received results of his examinations earlier today, so they’re still treating it as a day to day situation. But he appears headed for the DL.
- Mike Scioscia was asked about last night’s confusion, when he said Sean Burnett couldn’t go more than one inning because of a blister and Burnett said he could and the blister was already gone. The Angels’ skipper got pretty defensive, saying: “We’re totally on the same page. We are absolutely on the same page. I think he was talking about his performance and his pitching … Sean Burnett, part of what came up was he was used a lot in the first week of the season, he pitched a lot of baseball and not wanting to really repeat that I think there are some things you have to really be mindful of.”
- Ryan Madson felt good after his 30-pitch bullpen on Tuesday and will play catch with a softball, because it helps him get on top of the ball.
- Jered Weaver is off the sling and could be playing catch pretty soon. The timeline hasn’t changed, and he’ll still have to build back his length before returning, but it’s good for him to trigger the arm.
- Here’s what Scioscia said about using Harris over Andrew Romine: “Brendan, with his experience, is probably a little stronger in the batter’s box and he played good shortstop in the spring. [Andrew's] a terrific defender. With Milone actually he has that change-up so he is tough on righties, too. We feel good about Brendan, where he is, and he had a good game last night for us.”
- Pujols is at DH to give him a chance to regroup. It’s his third time in four games there.
- The Angels signed first baseman/outfielder Brad Hawpe to a Minor League deal. He’ll report to extended Spring Training in Tempe, Ariz., for four or five days, then head to Triple-A Salt Lake, providing coverage for Kole Calhoun (broken hamate bone).
- Bill Hall, resigned by the club, has already reported to extended spring. He’ll be there a little longer because he barely had a Spring Training while recovering from a quad and calf injury.
Come Monday, Jered Weaver will be making his fourth straight Opening Day start, Josh Hamilton‘s reunion tour will begin and the Angels will (once again) try to cash in on the grand expectations they carry into the season.
Before that happens, here’s a station-to-station look at where they stand heading into what should be a very fun 2013 …
Position players: I don’t see a way this team won’t be among the top three in runs scored in the American League this season. From mid-May to the end of the season last year, when Mike Trout arrived in more ways than one and Albert Pujols remembered he’s Albert Freakin’ Pujols, the Angels led the Majors in runs per game. And that was without Hamilton, mind you. The Angels have three dynamic speed guys (Peter Bourjos-Trout-Erick Aybar) and three lethal power hitters (Pujols-Hamilton-Mark Trumbo) all conveniently lining up together. The rest of the guys (Howie Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo, Chris Iannetta) don’t need to be anything more than themselves for the Angels to be an offensive juggernaut. Defensively, Trout-Bourjos-Hamilton could be the best defensive outfield in baseball (which tailors perfectly to their flyball-heavy pitching staff) and the infield is solid at every position.
Starters: Angels starters got their necessary work this spring, but just barely. Spring Training may not teach us much, but it certainly didn’t quell any apprehensions about this rotation. Everyone except the no-walks Joe Blanton struggled at some point, with Weaver, Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson all bringing temporary concerns that they wouldn’t have enough stamina heading into the regular season. But they do, and most importantly, they’re all healthy. Are they good enough to match one of the best offenses in baseball? No. Will they be adequate enough to eat innings (so the ‘pen doesn’t get worn out) and keep the Angels in games (with the lineup taking care of the rest)? That’s the plan. The key: C.J. Wilson, the $77.5 million No. 2 starter who should be a lot better than his 2012 second half.
Relievers: The Angels are deeper here, with or without Ryan Madson (who is still on track to return in late April or early May, barring another setback). They’ve added arguably the best free-agent lefty available in Sean Burnett, will have a full season of Ernesto Frieri, are banking on Kevin Jepsen‘s last three months being no fluke and, along with Scott Downs, seemingly have four formidable options to protect leads late in games. There’s also the high-upside Garrett Richards, coming off a great spring, the hard-throwing Mark Lowe, who the Angels have targeted since November, and the veteran Jerome Williams. Many will point to last year’s 22 blown saves as the biggest reason the Angels ultimately missed the playoffs, and this year, they’re better in the ‘pen. But that’s on paper. Relievers are a very unpredictable species.
Reserves: If all their everyday players stay healthy, this won’t be much of a factor, particularly in the AL. Chances are, though, injuries will happen. And given that, the Angels took a step back with regards to their bench (though if you’re going to pick one area to downgrade, this would be it). Without Vernon Wells, they don’t have any real power threat in reserve — besides Hank Conger, but he’s the backup catcher — and are pretty darn young. Andrew Romine takes over for the seasoned Maicer Izturis and Conger, awfully talented but coming off a spring soured by throwing woes, has spent most of the last three years in Triple-A. Contact-hitting lefty outfielder J.B. Shuck is the third player on this bench making his first Opening Day roster. The last reserve, veteran infielder Brendan Harris, hasn’t been in the big leagues since 2010.
Depth: The Angels’ farm system is dead last in all of baseball, according to ESPN and Baseball America. But those in the organization will tell you that mostly has to do with pitching; their position-player talent is just fine. Furthermore, the Angels’ front office is confident they’ve built more depth in the upper levels to serve as insurance in 2013. The Triple-A roster has several players with Major League experience, such as Luis Rodriguez, Tommy Field, Scott Cousins, Trent Oeltjen, Chris Snyder (possibly), John Hester, Luke Carlin, Mitch Stetter and Fernando Cabrera. But with Richards’ length shortened in the ‘pen, and Williams’ workload unpredictable as a swing man, where do the Angels turn if something happens to one of their starters? Barry Enright, Billy Buckner, Matt Shoemaker and the young A.J. Schugel figure to make up the Salt Lake Bees’ rotation.
Financials: The Angels’ payroll sits under $150 million, thanks to the Yankees taking on $11.5 million of Wells’ 2013 salary in the recent trade. The deal also bought them some luxury tax flexibility. Prior to the deal, the Angels’ Competitive Balance Tax payroll — which takes into account the average annual value of all 40-man roster salaries, plus benefits and performance bonuses at the end of the season — was $178 million, the threshold at which first-time offenders are taxed 17.5 percent by Major League Baseball. Now, it’s about $172M, giving them some flexibility to take on salary in an in-season trade. Last year, after acquiring Zack Greinke, their CBT payroll was at $178 million, which affected their pursuit of some necessary relief-pitching help.
Underlying theme: Expectations can do some funny things, and it’ll be interesting to see how the magnitude of it all will play into how the Angels go about — and react to — their second year under the microscope. Will it affect them out of the gate? Will it bring turmoil in the clubhouse, especially now that Torii Hunter is gone? Can it cause more tension between Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia, who have their philosophical differences and were at odds at times last season? And what will it lead Arte Moreno to do if they miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season?
In addition to Trumbo at DH, how much time do you think he will get a first base and right field, giving Pujols and Hamilton a day to rest their legs? (Stephen H., San Luis Obispo)
Plenty. And if I had to pin a number on it, I’d say there’s a very good chance — even if everyone stays healthy — that Trumbo spends about half his time playing the field. If he’s hitting, he’ll be in the lineup for all the Angels’ Interleague games. For a good chunk of April, with Pujols in the early stages of his return from offseason knee surgery, he figures to play plenty of first base. With Wells gone, he’s also the fourth outfielder. And fundamentally, with so much money tied to Hamilton and Pujols long-term, Scioscia will get them off their feet as often as necessary now that he has a revolving door at DH (that wasn’t very feasible with Kendrys Morales there last year).
Do you see the day when the Angels move Trout down in the batting order and put Bourjos, if he can cut it, in the leadoff spot? (Albert H., Los Angeles)
I do. Scioscia continues to say Trout profiles better in the middle of the order, the reason being that you want your best hitter to be in as many RBI situations as possible. The makeup of the Angels’ lineup right now — with Pujols, Hamilton and Trumbo in the middle of the order, and no clear solution in the leadoff spot just yet — means Trout is the best fit to bat first. You can argue that the Angels’ everyday lineup doesn’t figure to change much any time soon, with almost everyone in the books long term. But Trout is the kind of player you construct a lineup around, and his bat figures to eventually become too potent to not put in the 3 spot.
Is this the year the Angels finally get back to the playoffs and make a deep run? (Samuel M., Tempe, Ariz.)
Who knows. I do think that, on paper, they are the best team in the AL West and should win the division. Once you get in the playoffs, it’s a crapshoot. The sample size is too small. But 162 games is not a small sample size, and if the Angels stay healthy, there is no excuse for not taking the division crown. The Rangers’ lineup took a step back, replacing Hamilton with Lance Berkman, and the pitching staff won’t have Neftali Feliz, Colby Lewis or Joakim Soria to start the season. The A’s are deep, but will need a lot of guys to over-perform again. It’s nice to see the Mariners spending money, but they still have holes and concerns all over the place. And the Astros are a last-place team. But who am I kidding — predicting a baseball season is a foolish act.
Now, at last, we can see how it all plays out on the field.
The Angels have made it clear — even though their roster configuration can do it for them — that pitching is priority Nos. 1, 2 and 3 this offseason. It has to be with only Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson returning from the 2012 rotation and with a bullpen that blew 22 saves this past season.
That’s why the Angels never had a chance with Torii Hunter, even though the veteran outfielder was willing to give them a hometown discount. On Wednesday morning, Hunter signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Tigers, choosing not to wait on the Angels because they continue to scrounge for pitching (most likely via the free-agent market) and couldn’t offer more than a one-year, $5 million contract to a 37-year-old coming off a career year.
Question is: Are the Angels done with the position-player half of their roster?
It’s still early, and a lot can happen, but at the very least, it looks like they very well can be.
“It’s so early in the offseason that it’s impossible to say, but the reality is we are focused on pitching,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “Right now, our primary focus is on pitching and we’re very comfortable with the position-player club that we have.”
Here are the 13 position players I’d have slated to join the active roster if the season started today …
OF: Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo, Vernon Wells, Kole Calhoun
INF: Alberto Callaspo, Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Albert Pujols, Andrew Romine
C: Chris Iannetta, Hank Conger
DH: Kendrys Morales
And as @GBenn823 asked via Twitter, here’s how I would do the lineup …
* Wells can start at DH (or perhaps right field) against a lefty, which were the days Morales sat in 2012.
The Angels would probably still deal Wells if they can find someone to kick in a little money on the $42 million owed to him the next two years, and they may look to shore other areas up to create more competition in camp. But their attention is turned almost solely to pitching, most notably Zack Greinke.
The Angels and their three-game winning streak start a three-game weekend series in Seattle tonight, where they’ll try to win six straight at Safeco Field for the first time since taking seven straight from 2004-05. The Angels are 6-4 overall against the Mariners this season, having dropped two of three against them at home in early August. The last time Dan Haren pitched here, on May 24, he threw a complete-game shutout, striking out 14 and walking none …
Pitching: RH Haren (8-10, 4.82 ERA)
Pitching: RH Kevin Millwood (4-11, 4.28 ERA)
- Scott Downs, who left the team on Sunday night to attend to a family issue, is en route to Seattle and will be activated from the bereavement list tomorrow.
- Andrew Romine was here today, just in case Howie Kendrick (sore right knee) couldn’t go. But he went through pregame activities and is expected to be fine. So, Romine will be activated tomorrow — the first day of September callups.
- Thinking ahead never hurt anybody, right? Mike Scioscia essentially has his rotation for the rest of the month mapped out, and he has it so that he can use Jered Weaver for the last day of the regular season or — if the Angels already clinch by then — the first day of the Wild Card. Of course, they have to get there first.
- Scioscia doesn’t believe he’ll go to a four-man rotation at any point this month. The starters are pitching better and some of the guys, he said, “have been nicked up,” so they can use that normal/extended rest. “The way it’s working out, I don’t know if there’s going to be a need for that,” Scioscia said. “That would entail bringing some guys back on early rest. Our preference would be to not do that. That would be a last resort. Right now it doesn’t look like we’re going to have to do that.”
- Pujols still hasn’t played first base since returning from a calf injury on Tuesday, though he did take ground balls there yesterday. Asked about when Pujols can return to his normal position, Scioscia said: “Tough to put a timeframe on it. He came out of it fine taking ground balls. If it takes a week, it takes a week. If it takes two weeks, it takes two weeks. We need his bat in the lineup. And also, Albert’s a presence at first base, is a terrific defensive first baseman, and you’d like to get that defensive presence.”
The Angels meet the Rangers’ counter punch tonight, in a sense. Ryan Dempster, acquired at the final minute before Tuesday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, takes the bump after spending his first 15 seasons in the National League (and last eight with the Cubs). Albert Pujols, coming off back-to-back multi-homer games for the first time in his career, surely is familiar — and successful. In 67 career plate appearances against Dempster, Pujols has a .327/.433/.782 slash line.
“Dempster is a veteran, he knows what he wants to do, he’s very creative with how he pitches,” his Thursday opponent, C.J. Wilson, said. “He’s a control guy, throws any pitch at any count, that kind of thing. Some of the guys in here have faced him. Albert has faced him a ton of times. Albert’s got good numbers off him, so hopefully he can do something cool against him.”
Does it make Texas’ rotation better than that of the Angels?
Rangers’ rotation now: Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Dempster and Scott Feldman, with Alexi Ogando as insurance.
Angels’ rotation: Jered Weaver, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, Wilson and Ervin Santana, with Garrett Richards as insurance.
“They’ve been looking for help like most teams are,” Haren said. “He’s a solid pitcher. I’m sure it’ll help their club. But I think we still like where we stand. We like our chances, that’s for sure.”
On to the lineups …
Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (9-7, 2.88 ERA)
Pitching: RH Ryan Dempster (0-0, -.– ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- Richards was optioned, with David Carpenter coming up
- Trout was named AL Player of the Month and, for the third straight time, Rookie of the Month. (Weaver, however, got beat out by Jason Vargas for Rookie of the Month.)
- Back to the pinch-running situation. Mike Scioscia revealed pregame Thursday that Kendrick was bothered by a calf injury yesterday, which is why he didn’t start. Asked if that was the reason he didn’t pinch-run him for Morales, Scioscia said, “It was part of the equation, yes. But I think when push came to shove, if we were down a run, we would’ve looked at some other things.” Vernon Wells, of course, would’ve been an option regardless. Kendrick told reporters (I wasn’t there) that his calf was actually fine.
- Still no clarity on Scott Downs (strained left shoulder). Scioscia says it’ll take a week for them to get clearer indication. They’re waiting for the swelling to go down. This could take a while.
Some Angels.com links from Wednesday …
- Angels stunned, drop heartbreaker to Rangers
- Notebook, on August plans, the Greinke extension, Trout’s ties to Rickey Henderson, injury updates, etc.
- Preview, on the CJ-Dempster matchup
Some AL West links …
- Lyle: Rangers’ resiliency on full display
- Vargas named AL Pitcher of the Month
- A’s Brandon McCarthy takes “big step” in rehab start
And Ryan Tannehill joined the first team.
Pitching: RH Garrett Richards (3-2, 3.91 ERA)
Pitching: RH Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.05 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- It was about 106 degrees when I got to the ballpark this afternoon (yes, even hotter than yesterday). The Angels hit outside, but their pregame was limited, and Richards will probably do his pregame bullpen session inside, just like Jered Weaver did on Tuesday.
- No further clarity about Scott Downs (strained left shoulder). The medical team will be huddling up today to determine the best course of action, but surgery is not being considered. “I haven’t heard it ruled in,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “That didn’t come up.” “I think Downs feels really good at his prognosis,” Scioscia added.
- Erick Aybar (fractured right toe) took BP on the field for the first time on Wednesday and moved laterally while fielding ground balls. He’s on track to return Monday.
- Jordan Walden (neck and right biceps) backed his throwing up to about 130 feet and said it “went well,” but isn’t sure when he can throw a bullpen session. He’ll probably need to go on a rehab assignment when he’s ready.
- Dan Haren (right side) will throw a bullpen session tomorrow.
A matchup of southpaws tonight, with Barry Zito going up against C.J. Wilson. In tune with that, the Angels are giving Kendrys Morales the day off, putting Mark Trumbo in at DH and giving Peter Bourjos a rare start …
Pitching: LH Zito (5-4, 3.61 ERA)
Pitching: LH Wilson (7-4, 2.30 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- Jerome Williams is resting comfortably at UC Irvine Medical Center and is feeling better. Mike Scioscia visited with him in the hospital last night, saying: “He felt much better once everything had calmed down a little bit. He continues to feel better today, but we have to evaluate exactly what his situation is and await direction from our medical department.”
- Scioscia still doesn’t know — or simply remained coy about — what the corresponding roster move will be when Jered Weaver is activated off the DL for his Wednesday start. My hunch on two options: Williams going on the DL, buying them a little time; Andrew Romine getting optioned, again buying them some time.
- Ervin Santana hasn’t been told whether he’s starting Saturday.
- Since May 27, Trumbo is tied for the Major League lead with 10 homers and leads with 23 RBIs. Asked if Trumbo could be his everyday cleanup hitter, including against lefties, Scioscia said: “As of right now, against left-handed pitching, you’re going to see Mark hitting in the cleanup spot. For our team to really get to where we need, Kendrys really needs to be a big part of it. There’s no plans right now to move him out of the cleanup spot against lefties.”
Some Angels.com links …
- Williams struggles against his former team and Angels continue to struggle with runners on
- Breathing trouble sends Williams to hospital
- Weaver to return on Wednesday
- Notebook, on Trout making adjustments, the 2002 World Series, attendance figures, injury updates and roster moves
- Pujols remains fifth in ASG voting
- Preview, on the Zito-Wilson matchup
Some AL West links …
- Matt Harrison dominates Padres
- Brandon McCarthy to rejoin rotation tonight
- With Ichiro Suzuki sitting, Mariners stumble in Phoenix
Two more wins, and LeBron James can silence the critics.