Results tagged ‘ C.J. Wilson ’
We don’t have the depth for a big trade come July. What, if anything, is going to save this team? – @angelfan91
Performing to expectations and staying healthy. That simple.
For as star-laden and expensive a team as this is, it’s not a club that can really absorb an inordinate amount of injuries. Their farm system is barren, and their bench looked pretty weak once Vernon Wells was dealt to the Yankees. Look no further than the three starts Tommy Hanson (restricted list) has missed. Each of those nights — especially the latest one — the opposing team has batted around in an inning, basically because the Angels are left with nowhere to turn for additional starting pitching help. There are some teams (Yankees?) that can withstand using the disabled list seven times in the first six weeks. The Angels, apparently, aren’t one of them.
More than that, though, guys are simply under performing, as this Baseball Prospectus article evidenced by deploying PECOTA projections. Joe Blanton (0-7, 6.46 ERA, 1.87 WHIP) has taken the brunt of the criticism. But just as crippling, if not more so, is the fact that the three big signings of the last two offseasons — Albert Pujols (.248/.328/.418), Josh Hamilton (.214/.264/.358) and C.J. Wilson (3.88 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) — are simply not living up to their track records. Add that to all those who have been on the DL since April 1 (Jered Weaver, Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett, Kevin Jepsen, Peter Bourjos, Erick Aybar) and you have a problem.
The good news: Three-quarters of the season remains.
I’ll be away from the team for a little while moving forward, while trying to juggle a bunch of other things I have going on. William Boor is your man for the rest of this homestand.
Joe Blanton perpetually gets hit around and Tommy Hanson continues to be away from the team because of a family issue, but the other rotation newcomer, Jason Vargas, has pretty much provided what the Angels would’ve expected lately.
On Tuesday night, he bounced back from a dud against the Astros, limiting a pretty dangerous Royals lineup to five hits and one walk while striking out seven batters in seven-plus innings of two-run ball. Vargas, acquired in exchange for Kendrys Morales in December, hasn’t allowed a first-inning run in either of his first eight starts, is 2-1 with a 3.14 ERA at home and, most importantly, has pitched seven or more innings in four of his last five outings.
“I try to go out there every time and keep the team in the ballgame, be consistent out there and try to execute,” Vargas said.
His ERA, at 6.75 after his April 16 start, is now at 4.03. He’s responsible for both of the Angels’ complete games (though one was eight innings of a loss on the road). And though he began the season in the fourth spot of the rotation, he’s clearly the Angels’ third-best starter (perhaps even second, depending on how you feel about C.J. Wilson).
“If you look at Jason, you look at his track record, this guy pitches deep into games,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Vargas, who posted a 3.96 ERA and compiled 611 innings his previous three years in Seattle. “It’s one thing saying ‘gives innings,’ but this guy gives you good innings and that’s what’s important to us is these guys getting into the seventh, possibly the eighth, giving those good innings and giving our offense a chance to do what it did tonight.”
These are the Angels’ next 10 series (making up a stretch of 29 games): at Astros, at White Sox, vs. Royals, vs. White Sox, vs. Mariners, at Royals, at Dodgers, vs. Dodgers, vs. Astros, vs. Cubs. Only one of those teams is currently above .500 — and it’s the Royals. This would be the time to make up some serious ground on the hole they’ve dug themselves to start the season. Go 19-10 in that stretch, which they should, and suddenly they’re at .500. Continue to lose in that stretch, and things can start getting ugly.
SP: LH C.J. Wilson (3-0, 4.04 ERA)
SP: RH Jordan Lyles (0-0, 3.60 ERA)
- Jered Weaver (broken left elb0w) is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session on Thursday, which is when he can really start getting a gauge for how far along he is. Sunday marked four weeks since he landed on the DL with an injury that carried an estimated four-to-six-week recovery, but the Angels’ ace isn’t two weeks away from getting back, Angels manager Mike Scioscia confirmed. Weaver will need to ramp up some innings in extended spring in Arizona before getting back out there.
- Sean Burnett‘s visit with Dr. James Andrews revealed forearm inflammation. He took an anti-inflammatory shot that will keep him away from throwing for another week.
- Ryan Madson, however, perceivably took a step forward on Monday. He threw a bullpen, felt good, and wants to face hitters in extended spring training in Arizona as soon as Thursday. At that point, he hopes to face hitters every other day. His goal — though that can change, as it has before — is to be back with the Angels towards the end of next week.
- Conger is behind the plate for a fifth consecutive Wilson start, but Scioscia said it has more to do with Chris Iannetta struggling with some things defensively — not necessarily him wanting to pair Conger exclusively with Wilson. Here’s what the Angels’ skipper said: “First and foremost, we want him to get a little more of a comfort level behind the plate. He’s doing a good job, but it just doesn’t look like he’s as comfortable as he needs to be back there. On the offensive side, he hasn’t gotten a lot of hits to fall in, but that’s secondary to what our starting pitchers need especially.”
- Peter Bourjos isn’t with the team. He stayed back to rehab his strained left hamstring.
- Kevin Jepsen (strained lat) is playing catch, but has yet to get off a mound.
- In case you missed it, Mark Lowe was activated on Monday.
Just landed in my old stumping grounds of Anaheim. Had a great 5 years here but I'm a Tiger now and we are here to eat.😺😺😺😺—
Torii Hunter (@toriihunter48) April 19, 2013
Torii Hunter returns to his “old stomping grounds” at an interesting time, with his former team reeling and seeking answers and, perhaps, needing leadership.
As I wrote in Spring Training, others will have to step up and fill the void of Hunter, who was the Angels’ heart and soul for the last five years — the one who called the team meetings, the one who lightened the mood and the one who, if necessary, got in your face.
The Angels don’t have a Torii Hunter in their clubhouse right now, but to be fair, hardly anybody does. What they do have is a litany of esteemed, accomplished players. Problem is, the vast majority of them are introverts.
One former player told me something interesting after Tuesday’s loss, which dropped the Angels to 4-10: “This is a good night for somebody in that clubhouse to say, ‘OK, coaches, get out — we’re going to talk this thing out. Let’s sit here all night until we figure this out.’ They don’t have that guy right now.”
Now, we are only 14 games into the season. And you don’t want to project all-out panic so early, which is why it’s wise to pick and choose your spots for a team meeting. But point taken.
That brings me to this question: Do the Angels have team chemistry?
Break that thought down long enough, and you can begin pondering your own existence. Is chemistry a requirement for winning, or does winning lead to chemistry? How is chemistry even defined? And does it even matter if a team gets along?
Thing is, it’s easy to appear like you lack chemistry when you aren’t playing well. C.J. Wilson, who came from a tight-knit clubhouse with the Rangers, nonetheless believes “the ingredients are there” with the Angels …
“We do have really good team chemistry,” he said. “What we didn’t have was good luck. Look at [Joey] Votto’s game-winning hit against us. It didn’t even leave the infield. It’s just a ball that bounced weird and was unplayable. And that’s how we lost the game – on a bounce.
“All the ingredients are there. The hard thing is when you’re coming down to the last four or five days of Spring Training and the roster isn’t already set, because geniuinely there’s a couple decisions to be made. Then the team is not aware of what the team is.”
Coming together and forming that chemistry, Wilson said, is a process.
“It adds up, like bricks,” he added. “You have to put the bricks together. It’s not like some sort of bounce-house, inflatable thing, where you just hit a button. It doesn’t happen like that.”
Here’s something else Wilson scoffs at: The perception that teams have one leader. There are too many players on a baseball roster, Wilson believes, for one player (i.e., Hunter) to be the one, bona fide leader of a team.
“The reality is, every team has leaders — plural,” Wilson said. “… It’s never been just one guy. This isn’t basketball. You don’t just pass it to one guy and just let him steal the show. That’s not how it works.”
I’ll say this about the Angels so far: Despite the slow start, they seem like a loose group, from Albert Pujols to Jered Weaver to Mike Trout on down. How much impact will that eventually have? Maybe none. Maybe a lot. Impossible to say.
“At the end of the day, all you want in a teammate is a guy that delivers,” Wilson said. “That’s really all it boils down to. I would’ve loved to have a guy like Bob Gibson. People said he was mean – I’ll take a mean guy who punches 300 guys out a year any day, because you know you can count on him. That dependability is what you build those things around. The team is built around the dependable guys.”
Boy, talk about a rough way to start out a home schedule, huh? The Angels started Tuesday with the news that Jered Weaver has a broken left (non-pitching) elbow, leaving them without their ace for the next four to six weeks. Time for the rest of the rotation to pick up the slack; time for the offense to perform as advertised.
SP: RH Jarrod Parker (0-1, 7.20 ERA)
SP: LH C.J. Wilson (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
- Garrett Richards will start Saturday in Weaver’s place, and may get somewhere between four to seven turns through the rotation, depending on where Weaver falls in that four-to-seven-week time frame.
- Weaver thought he had dodged a serious injury when X-rays came back negative in Texas. But a follow-up MRI on Monday left him stunned with the diagnosis: “This is all new to me. I’ve never broken anything before. I didn’t really know how to take the news. It kind of was a shock at first. Now you just have to play the waiting game, I guess.”
- To give them more coverage, the Angels purchased the contract of reliever Dane De La Rosa from Triple-A Salt Lake in a corresponding move on Tuesday. De La Rosa, a 6-foot-7 right-hander who was acquired from the Rays for Steven Geltz on March 27, posted a 2.79 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings for Triple-A Durham last year. To make room for him on the roster, lefty Andrew Taylor (labrum tear) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.”He’s a power arm,” Mike Scioscia said. “He’s a big guy with a power arm and good stuff.”
- The Angels will stay in-house with their rotation depth. “We’re comfortable with our in-house candidates,” Jerry Dipoto said.
- The most important bullpen guy right now? Probably Mark Lowe. He can expect to get in more high-leverage situations now.
- Hamilton, on making his home debut after returning from Texas: “It’s more exciting for me to be here and be ready, as far as a routine for a week or so — same kind of schedule. That’s probably the most exciting thing for me.”
- Pregame festivities for the home opener will include an unfurling of a 300-foot U.S. flag, a condor squadron flyover with six WWII AT-6 Fighters and the first pitch thrown by former Angels great Bobby Knoop.
Wilson, he said, assumes hitters are going to make adjustments on him the second time through the order and sometimes winds up complicating matters, trying to be too fine rather than going with what worked early in the game. It’s just one man’s theory, of course. But it did seem to play out that way against the Reds in the bottom of the fourth, walking Chris Heisey and Joey Votto on nine pitches before serving up a three-run homer to Brandon Phillips and a near-homer to Jay Bruce.
Last year, as Wilson struggled through the second half, the left-hander’s biggest problems seemed to come the second time through a lineup. Wilson gave up 65 runs (56 earned) in 91 innings in the second half last year, resulting in a 5.54 ERA. Thirty-five of those runs came in the second and third inning, which is when a lineup would turn over once guys start reaching base (Wilson was perfect through three on Wednesday, so it wasn’t until the fourth that he faced guys a second time).
Per Baseball-Reference.com, here’s how opposing hitters fared against Wilson the first, second and third time through last year …
Wilson (6 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 4 SO) was asked Wednesday night about his hiccup in the fourth and basically broke it down batter by batter …
“The pitch I really just whiffed on was a couple pitches to Heisey. Those were just kind of out of the zone. Just trying to make adjustments and couldn’t, and I got a little bit closer to being dialed in with Votto but still missed. And then the pitch Phillips hit was a cutter that just cut too much. It was supposed to be outside and then cut all the way across the plate and he hammered it. The at-bat with Bruce was really pivotal, though, because I had him with two strikes and couldn’t put him away. That was 100 percent on me; it didn’t have anything to do with anybody else. There was no bad hops or anything like that. I just made a bad pitch instead of making a good pitch and he hit it off the wall. So that’s kind of what turned the game around. That and me popping up the bunt [in the third] were two of the things that I’m going to be extremely upset about for a long part of the season.”
- Ryan Madson, experiencing some elbow tightness from his last session, threw 15 pitches off the mound on Wednesday afternoon, which is a step down from where he was last Wednesday — throwing 40 pitches, including changeups and letting it go on his last few throws. Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher doesn’t believe Madson is back to where he was when he first returned from missing nearly 40 days, though. “Way further along than that,” Butcher said. “This is more precautionary than anything else.”
- Everyone is available out of the bullpen for the Angels today, two days after six of their seven relievers appeared in Monday’s win (with Mark Lowe throwing two innings). The off day was big.
- Garrett Richards, 24, is the youngest member of the bullpen. And since they don’t have the pink, little-girls’ bookbag yet, Richards is carrying a WWF championship belt to the ‘pen. It’s pink.
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.
Jered Weaver gave up eight runs in two innings against the A’s in his last Cactus League start — then threw in an intrasquad game five days later — Tommy Hanson has an 8.25 ERA in 12 innings, Jason Vargas has given up at least four runs on eight hits two of his last three times out, long reliever Jerome Williams was charged with seven runs on 11 hits in 1 1/3 innings against the Rangers on Thursday and, on Friday, C.J. Wilson gave up seven runs in a third inning he didn’t finish. That leaves Joe Blanton (3.86 ERA in seven frames) as the most impressive starter so far.
The Angels’ starting-pitcher ERA this spring: 8.21, dead last in the Majors. The A’s are 29th, at 6.85.
“I sure hope that as we get to the latter stages of our work in Arizona and into the Freeway Series, we’ll see some guys come alive and repeat some pitches,” Mike Scioscia said.
Asked how much more important these last 10 days are for the starters, the Angels’ skipper added: “To be honest with you, if we could get them at least lengthened out and get them deep into games, you’re not going to read as much from your performance as you are getting into their length. … I think just making pitches. That’s how we’re trying to evaluate these guys.”
Some notes from today …
We know the Angels can score runs, at least. One day after notching a four-homer, six-run fourth inning, they pounded out seven runs against James Shields in the first two innings.
Mike Trout hit two doubles to center field, scored two runs and was robbed of a hit. Albert Pujols scored from first base on an opposite-field triple. Josh Hamilton hit an opposite-field triple. Vernon Wells went 2-for-3, putting his spring batting average at .394. Mark Trumbo went 2-for-2 with a couple of RBIs. Alberto Callaspo had two hits and has his average at .317.
Sean Burnett pitched a clean fifth inning, one outing after giving up three runs and recording one out. Kevin Jepsen, out since March 9 with a triceps injury, gave up a run in an inning during a Minor League game.
Wilson gave up eight runs (six earned) on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings in what was his first dud of the spring. One of those runs came on a home run by Jeff Francoeur that’s still orbiting the solar system. First, it cleared the 30-foot-tall batting eye that sits behind the center field fence, which is already 420 feet from home plate.
Fernando Cabrera gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in his first outing since returning from the World Baseball Classic.
Howie Kendrick went 0-for-3, ending his 16-game spring hitting streak — it’s 21 if you go back to last spring — and putting his batting average at .490.
Best play (that I saw)
In the bottom of the fifth, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas dove full extension to his left to snare a bullet off the bat of Trout.
Wilson, on Frenchy’s home run: “That was the furthest home run I’ve given up in a couple years. … It was wind-aided, though, I will say that.”
As part of winning the Player’s Choice Award for the American League’s Outstanding Rookie, the Major League Baseball Players Association offered to reward $20,000 to a foundation of his choice. Trout chose the Millville High School baseball program, where he starred as a Thunderbolt before being the Angels’ first-round pick in 2009.
Millville baseball coach Roy Hallenbeck said he’s going to “try to make it stretch as long as we can,” but the team has already purchased new gray uniforms and alternate tops, and on Friday, they finished sodding the field in anticipation for the start of practice in March.
Don’t worry, there’s more coming.
In January, BODYARMOR SuperDrink, the company that signed Trout to its first major endorsement deal, decided to get involved, too.
“Mike was on board from the beginning,” Hallenbeck said, “and every time I talk to those guys [at BODYARMOR], they say he brings it up all the time. He’s really excited about that project working out and helping us out.”
BODYARMOR hasn’t said exactly how much they plan to contribute, but their involvement — which could include sprucing up the press box, adding a big net behind home plate, providing “L” screens and, most importantly, renovating the batting cages — was recently approved by the board of education.
By the end of March, Hallenbeck believes, everything will be finished.
And by early June, the field will be rededicated to bear Trout’s name.
“There’s no major construction differences,” Hallenbeck said, “but it’s just going to be adding a lot of really nice bells and whistles to what we already have.”
With Cactus League games starting on Saturday, here are some notes to get you caught up on the first 11 days of camp …
- Ryan Madson had a setback after a Feb. 1 bullpen session and is taking it slow. He won’t be ready by Opening Day and there’s a chance he won’t pitch in any Spring Training games in March, but the Angels are hopeful they’ll have him at some point in the early portion of the season.
- Albert Pujols is still working his way back from arthroscopic right knee surgery. Don’t expect him to appear in games until mid-March.
- The early start of camp has prompted Angels manager Mike Scioscia to change things up a bit, with no intrasquad games, very little live batting practice and plenty of rest for the regulars. The starting pitchers won’t start until March 1, which makes it even harder to find bodies for the split-squad opener. The elimination of the third-to-first move has also forced Scioscia to tinker.
- Josh Hamilton came in lighter than normal, maintaining his end-of-season weight of 225 thanks to a healthier diet. Trout did the opposite.
- Hamilton can expect to hear loud boos when he returns to Texas on April 5, thanks to some comments he made on TV.
- Here’s what we know about the lineup: Trout will lead off, Pujols will bat third, Hamilton will bat fourth and Trumbo — at least at the start — will bat fifth. It may be a revolving door between Howie Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo and Erick Aybar in the No. 2 spot, with Chris Iannetta and Peter Bourjos hitting lower in the lineup.
- Scioscia doesn’t sound like a man who’s ready to fully commit to Bourjos as his starting center fielder, continuing to leave the door open for Vernon Wells to get some playing time in left field, which would move Trout to center. But some of that may be the Angels’ skipper trying to be sensitive to Wells’ situation. Scioscia has also said Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams are fighting for spots in the rotation, even though the five are already set.
- The Angels have two big lingering free agents in Jason Vargas and Scott Downs.
- Ernesto Frieri is trying to add a cutter, and thinks it can do wonders.
- Sean Burnett is dealing with a back ailment, but it isn’t expected to hinder him much. Michael Kohn is looking great after Tommy John surgery. Veteran relievers Tony Pena (setback after Tommy John) and Mitch Stetter (bulging disk) are working themselves back slowly, currently throwing off flat ground. First base prospect C.J. Cron (shoulder surgery) is doing everything but throwing and is targeting Opening Day, in Double-A.
- Kendrick and C.J. Wilson don’t expect to be hindered by offseason elbow surgery.
- Two reclamation projects are currently working out in Minor League camp — former Nationals closer Chad Cordero and former A’s first-round pick Ben Fritz.
- Aybar (Dominican Republic), reliever Fernando Cabrera (Puerto Rico) and first baseman Efren Navarro (Mexico) will leave camp early to take part in the World Baseball Classic.
- The Angels have a new partnership with Ticketmaster. Individual tickets go on sale tomorrow.
- In case you missed them, here are stories on Trout, Pujols, Wells, Bourjos, Jered Weaver, the new rotation trio, The Big Three, Trumbo, Hamilton, Omar Vizquel, Chris Iannetta, Hank Conger, Scott Cousins, Bill Hall, Randal Grichuk, Kaleb Cowart, Kole Calhoun, Bobby Cassevah, Hiroyuki Kobayashi and Travis Witherspoon.
- For a breakdown of the Angels’ Spring Training roster, click here. … For the videos we’ve put together, click here. … For photos, click here.