Results tagged ‘ Kevin Johnson ’

Rangers claim Mills, Angels make cuts …

The Rangers claimed left-handed starting pitcher Brad Mills off waivers from the Angels on Sunday.

Mills, 28, was out of options and had to clear waivers in order for the Angels to option him to the Minor Leagues. Mills has spent his six-year pro career pitching almost entirely in the Minors, going 41-38 with a 3.97 ERA in 112 games (106 starts). Acquired from the Blue Jays in exchange for Jeff Mathis in December 2011, Mills has logged 53 1/3 innings in parts of four seasons in the Majors, posting a 7.76 ERA. He has given up four runs in six Cactus League innings this spring.

Additionally, the Angels sent outfielders Scott Cousins and Matt Young, infielder Tommy Field, catcher Luke Carlin, and pitchers Nick Maronde, Fernando Cabrera, Chad Cordero and Kevin Johnson to Minor League camp. Their spring roster is now at 35.

Maronde, the Angels’ top pitching prospect, came into came battling for a spot in the bullpen, and even though he didn’t win it, the 23-year-old left-hander will remain in that role in Double-A. Maronde was primarily a starter in the Minors, going 11-4 with a 2.22 ERA in 31 games (29 starts) in the Minors. But he pitched well as a reliever with the Angels as a September callup, giving up one run in 12 appearances (six innings) and that’s where the organization sees his future.

“He’s got to maintain his velocity a little better in the ‘pen,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I don’t think he has to go face hitters three, four times with just a fasteball slider, a changeup coming. He’s a guy that’s going to be go in in one-inning spurts and just do what you would hope a guy could posssilby pitch at the back end would do. He’s got that upsdide.”

Alden

So, who rounds out the Angels’ bullpen? …

Remember all that talk about the Angels’ bullpen being deeper, better heading into 2013? Well, that’ll probably be the case eventually, but leading up to Opening Day, a setback and some spring disappointments have made it a bit difficult to identify the seven relievers who will begin the regular season with the big club.

With 17 days left until the April 1 opener in Cincinnati, and Ryan Madson opening the season on the disabled list, five relievers are still set: righties Kevin Jepsen and Ernesto Frieri, lefties Sean Burnett and Scott Downs, and long man Jerome Williams.

That leaves two spots and some haziness because …

Michael Kohn, who progressed very quickly from April 2012 Tommy John surgery, has struggled with mechanics and off-speed pitches in recent outings and was optioned to Minor League camp on Friday.

Hiroyuki Kobayashi, signed as a Minor League free agent from Japan, was released in early March because he wasn’t throwing as hard as they expected.

Bobby Cassevah — homegrown, out of options and coming off a rough 2012 — cleared waivers and opted for free agency, eventually hooking on with the Rockies.

Veteran Tony Pena had a setback from Tommy John and is trying to work through it in Minor League camp.

Lefty Brandon Sisk, acquired for Ervin Santana and most of his salary, was sent down about a week ago.

Fernando Cabrera, another veteran obtained on a Minor League deal, has spent most of the spring pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic (2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 SO).

Andrew Taylor, the lefty who had a very brief stint with the Angels as a September callup, has a slight tear in his labrum and won’t pitch for a while. Granted, he didn’t really have a chance anyway.

With that out of the way, here are the options the Angels are left with (keep in mind that the seventh relief spot — the team hopes — may only be relevant for a few weeks, until Madson comes off the DL) …

Garrett Richards

I identified him early in camp as a guy who seems poised to land a full-year bullpen spot, and more than a month in, there’s no reason to change my mind. Yes, his future is best as a starter. Yes, the Angels will preserve starting-pitching depth by keeping Richards stretched out in the Minors. Yes, Richards struggled as a reliever last year. But Richards’ stuff plays as a reliever, he should be better if his role remains consistent, it’s time for him to be up in the big leagues for a full season, and putting him on the roster gives the Angels their best 25 heading into the season (I don’t think that’s up for dispute). Besides, they have better rotation depth 6-10 than they did last year.

Nick Maronde

In some ways, Maronde’s situation is quite the opposite of Richards’ — his future is probably as a reliever, but it’s probably best to keep him stretched out in the Minors. Why? He’s still developing and the Angels don’t need another lefty. Even with how camp has gone, I still expect Maronde to start for Triple-A Salt Lake, getting some valuable experience heading into a potential bullpen role in 2014 (with Downs a lingering free agent).

David Carpenter

That last spot may be Carpenter’s to lose at this point. In 2012, the 25-year-old right-hander posted a 4.76 ERA in 39 2/3 innings in the big leagues and a 2.75 ERA in 19 2/3 innings in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. But he hasn’t really stuck out this spring, giving up three runs on seven hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings.

Chad Cordero

“The Chief” is a fantastic story, but he can’t really make the team out of Spring Training … right? “Never say never,” one member of the organization said. He is still in camp, and he bounced back in his last outing five days ago. Still, though, a long, long shot.

Others

Lefty Mitch Stetter, the longtime Brewers reliever, hasn’t pitched yet because of a bulging disk in his back that was bothering him early in camp, but he’s expected to get in a game at some point this weekend. … Robert Coello, 28, appeared in six games with the Blue Jays last year and has given up five runs in 2 2/3 innings this spring. … Kevin Johnson, who posted a 3.69 ERA in the Angels’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates last year, has given up four runs in 5 2/3 Cactus League innings.

Outside help? 

The likes of Francisco Rodriguez, Jose Valverde and Brian Wilson, among others, are still out there, and the Angels do have an open spot on the 40-man. Not sure anyone available is an upgrade, though.

 – Alden 

Angels 12, White Sox 4 …

Mike Trout, Mike Scioscia

Angels starters put together a nice game on Thursday — perhaps the most complete game of a spring that had only produced three victories through the first 17 Cactus League contests.

The first three members of the lineup (Mike Trout, Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols) combined to go 6-for-9 with five runs scored. The starting pitcher (Jason Vargas) gave up a run in 4 2/3 innings. And the Angels played a solid game defensively, which had eluded them most of the month.

“Some guys are starting to get into their 15th, 20th at-bat, and they’re starting to see the ball the way they should,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re swinging the bats well and running the bases well. We have to keep building from this, and as spring moves on, we have to keep building our bullpen and getting guys where they need. That’s going to be critical for us.”

The good

Trout is in midseason form, it seems. He homered to lead off the game, just missed a homer his second time up — resulting in a double, which gave him an extra-base hit in four straight at-bats — and stole a base after reaching on a fielder’s choice in his last plate appearance. He’s batting .407 this spring.

Kendrick is on a tear, as he usually is this time a year, hitting a triple and a double to put his spring batting average at .485.

Pujols had a couple of singles in three at-bats, giving him a .429 clip, and ran for himself for the second straight day.

Vargas bounced back from a rough start against the Rockies, giving up a run on two hits while striking out five and putting his pitch count in the high 60′s in 4 2/3 innings. He liked the way his off-speed pitches were working.

The bad

Scott Downs gave up a solo homer to Dewayne Wise in the sixth, and though it was the only hit, he was hit hard in his lone frame of work.

Kevin Johnson, still vying for a bullpen spot, gave up two runs on four hits in the ninth.

Best play (that I saw)

The Angels made a couple of nifty catches on foul pop-ups to end the third inning. Hank Conger raced to the backstop, contorted his body and made the catch for out No. 2, and Alberto Callaspo reached over the dugout railing for out No. 3.

Best quote

Vargas, on adjustments he made coming off an outing in which he allowed four runs in three innings to the Rockies: “I think that last start, I kept throwing fastballs and was really trying to get it down in the strike zone. I was leaving them up and getting hammered for it. We tried to work on that in the bullpen mid-week, and when the game comes it’s just trying to get them out.”

Alden

Angels announce Spring Training invites …

The Angels announced 21 non-roster invitees who will be joining those on the 40-man roster in Spring Training. Here’s a look at who’s coming to camp … 

Pitchers: Billy Buckner, Kevin Johnson, Tony Pena, Jo-Jo Reyes, A.J. Schugel, Mitch Stetter

Catchers: Jett Bandy, Luke Carlin, Carlos Ramirez, Zach Wright

Infielders: Kaleb Cowart, Brendan Harris, Taylor Lindsey, Efren Navarro, Luis Rodriguez, Eric Stamets, Alex Yarbrough

Outfielders: Randal Grichuk, Trent Oeltjen, J.B. Shuck, Matt Young

* Note that veteran reliever Fernando Cabrera will also be in big league camp when his contract his official.

Here’s the 40-man roster, in case you’re wondering who else is joining them. 

Pitchers report Feb. 11, position players report Feb. 14. 

Alden 

Sun sets on the Arizona Fall League …

The Scottsdale Scorpions, made up partly of Angels prospects, finished the Arizona Fall League 15-16 — not good enough to qualify for the championship game — and top prospect Kaleb Cowart (pictured) struggled. The 20-year-old, switch-hitting, former first-round pick, who rose to No. 1 in the Angels’ system by the end of the season, posted a .200/.265/.283 slash line with one home run in 17 AFL games. As one scout said, he was simply “out of gas.” The same thing happened to Mike Trout in 2011, playing a lot in September with the Angels and scuffling big time while on the same team as Bryce Harper in the AFL. So, what do you make of Cowart’s fall? Nothing. He’s still a talented prospect the Angels hope can be their everyday third baseman by 2014 (though 2015 may be a safer bet). Below are how the rest of the Angels prospects did in the AFL. For more info on the league, go here, and for more info on these guys, click here

LHRP Buddy Boshers: 4 R (3 ER), 3 SO, 3 BB, 2 2/3 IP

RHRP Bobby Cassevah: 2-0, 3.13 ERA, 6 GS, 23 IP, 18 SO, 8 BB

RHRP Ryan Chaffee: 8 R, 9 SO, 6 BB, 6 1/3 IP

RHRP Kevin Johnson: 3.75 ERA, 7 SO, 1 BB, 12 IP

C Carlos Ramirez: 6-for-24, 4 RBI

OF Randal Grichuk: .228/.297/.351, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 16 G

CF Travis Witherspoon: .219/.288/.411, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 21 G

Alden 

Angels in the Arizona Fall League …

The 20th Arizona Fall League season starts Tuesday, with the Angels — along with the Giants, Nationals, Phillies and Red Sox — sending prospects to make up the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Rising Stars Game is Nov. 3 (Salt River Fields at Talking Stick) and the championship game for the six-team league will be Nov. 17 (Scottsdale Stadium).

Last year, Mike Trout played in this event. This year, Randal Grichuk — who’s known mostly for being drafted a spot before Trout but has quietly put together a nice season — is going. Nick Maronde was going to go, but since he missed the early part of the year with a strained lat muscle and he pitched through September, the Angels decided that he hold off. Veteran-ish reliever Bobby Cassevah is taking his place.

The one to watch here, though, will be 20-year-old third baseman Kaleb Cowart, who became the Angels’ top-ranked prospect after a solid A ball season. Below is the full slate of Angels representatives. Carlos Ramirez is on the taxi squad, which means he’ll only be activated Wednesdays and Saturdays. Brandon Emanuel, pitching coach for Class A Inland Empire, is part of the Scorpions’ coaching staff.

LHRP Buddy Boshers

Draft: 4th round, 2008
Age: 24
2012 (A+,AA): 2.98 ERA, 45 G (11 GF), 63 1/3 IP, 10.7 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 1.25 WHIP
Career (5 seasons): 3.81 ERA, 150 G (34 GS, 26 GF), 324 IP, 8.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 2.56 WHIP
MLB.com prospect rank: Unranked

RHRP Bobby Cassevah

Draft: 34th round, 2004
Age: 27
2012 (A+, AAA): 5.79 ERA, 49 G (18 GF), 51 1/3 IP, 5.6 SO/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.66 WHIP
Career (8 seasons): 4.53 ERA, 268 G (14 GS, 96 GF), 401 2/3 IP, 6.1 SO/9, 4.5 BB/9, 1.59 WHIP
MLB.com prospect rank: Unranked
Cassevah isn’t what you would call a prospect, by any stretch, combining to make 46 appearances in the Majors from 2010-11 (posting a 2.87 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP). But he began the season on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation and never quite got right throughout the year — making four appearances in the Majors and struggling mightily in the PCL — which is probably why he wants to get more work in this fall.

RHRP Ryan Chaffee

Drafted: 3rd round, 2008
Age: 24
2012 (A+, AA): 2.60 ERA, 55 G (21 GF), 65 2/3 IP, 11.5 SO/9, 4.9 BB/9, 1.17 WHIP
Career (4 seasons): 5.36 ERA, 132 G (58 GS, 27 GF), 393 IP, 8.8 SO/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1.47 WHIP
MLB.com prospect rank: Unranked

RHRP Kevin Johnson

Drafted: 20th round, 2010
Age: 24
2012 (AA, AAA): 3.69 ERA, 56 G (41 GF), 18 SV, 63 1/3 IP, 4.4 SO/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.39 WHIP
Career (3 seasons): 4.34 ERA, 121 IP (10 GS, 72 GF), 193 IP, 6 SO/9, 3.2 BB/9, 1.48 WHIP
MLB.com prospect rank: Unranked

C Carlos Ramirez

Drafted: 8th round, 2009
Age: 24
Bats: Right
2012 (AA): .204/.312/.276, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 85 G
Career (4 seasons): .269/.371/.416, 25 HR, 134 RBI, 291 G
MLB.com prospect rank: 19th on Angels
Prospect reportRamirez still has some things to work out offensively, as his numbers haven’t shown much consistency from league to league. Though he’s notched a very respectable average across four levels, the disparity between his performance in the hitter-friendly California League and each of his other stops leaves some room for concern. Ramirez is a strong defensive backstop, knows how to handle a pitching staff and has the makeup that should allow him to be an everyday catcher. If the bat doesn’t come around, his glove could land him a job as a backup at the highest level.

3B Kaleb Cowart

Drafted: 1st round (18th overall), 2010
Age: 20
Bats: Switch
2012 (A, A+): .276/.358/.452, 16 HR, 103 RBI, 14 SB, 135 G
Career (3 seasons): .275/.349/.437, 24 HR, 150 RBI, 25 SB, 214 G
MLB.com prospect rank: 1st on the Angels, 46th overall
Prospect reportCowart is a switch-hitter with a lot of bat speed that generates plus raw power from both sides of the plate. He started tapping into that power more consistently as he’s started to mature and learn the strike zone better. He’s athletic and has decent speed, which should help him stay at third long term. So will the plus arm that made him a legitimate pitching prospect in high school. He handled full-season ball well, earning a promotion from Class A to the Class A Advanced California League in June.

OF Randal Grichuk

Drafted: 1st round (24th overall), 2009
Age: 21
Bats: Right
2012 (A+): .298/.335/.488, 18 HR, 71 RBI, 16 SB, 135 G
Career (4 seasons): .296/.331/.507, 39 HR, 195 RBI, 26 SB, 305 G
MLB.com prospect rank: 12th on the Angels
Prospect reportGrichuk may forever be paired witih the other high school outfielder taken by the Angels in the first round of the 2009 Draft. What that outfielder, Mike Trout, has done, speaks for itself, but Grichuk has had a harder time moving up the ladder, largely because of injury issues. Grichuk was actually taken one slot above Trout, but 2012 was his first season with more than 300 at-bats. When he’s healthy, he’s shown glimpses of the pop that made him a first rounder along with some base-stealing acumen. He needs more time to work on the holes in his swing, but he’s still young enough to tap into that raw power and be a run-producing corner outfielder, taking a positive step forward in 2012.

CF Travis Witherspoon

Drafted: 12th round, 2009
Age: 23
Bats: Right
2012 (A+,AA): .268/.350/.418, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 34 SB (11 CS), 121 G
Career (4 seasons): .264/.332/.417, 42 HR, 171 RBI, 110 SB, 373 G
MLB.com prospect rank: 7th on the Angels
Prospect reportWitherspoon has lots of tools and the potential to be an above-average everyday player when everything comes together. He has a solid arm and plus speed, and he knows how to run a route, making him an excellent defender in the outfield. On the other side of the ball, he has the strength and bat speed to hit for power but still has work left to do in taming his aggressive approach. He’s also a plus runner with good instincts and can do some damage on the basepaths, especially if he continues to develop patience and makes more contact at the plate. Witherspoon was promoted to Double-A Arkansas on June 20. He was placed on the disabled list on July 3, with a left quad strain.

Alden

Game 130: Red Sox-Angels …

Red Sox (62-68)

Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Cody Ross, RF
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Mauro Gomez, 1B
Mike Aviles, DH
Jose Iglesias, SS
Scott Podsednik, LF

Pitching: RH Zach Stewart (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Angels (67-62)

Mike Trout, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, DH
Kendrys Morales, 1B
Mark Trumbo, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Erick Aybar, SS
Chris Iannetta, C

Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (9-9, 3.83 ERA)

  • C.J. Cron came into Wednesday with 123 RBIs for Class A Inland Empire, one shy of the Angels’ Minor League record. And it’ll stay that way. Cron decided to undergo season-ending labrum surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday. Angels assistant general manager Scott Servais expects him to return early next season, but his timeline is still very much uncertain.
  • Still no word on when Scott Downs will return from his stint on the family medical emergency list, manager Mike Scioscia said.
  • Arizona Fall League rosters were announced. Representing the Angels will be infielder Kaleb Cowart, outfielders Randal Grichuk and Travis Witherspoon, catcher Carlos Ramirez (taxi squad), and pitchers Buddy Boshers, Ryan Chaffee, Kevin Johnson and Nick Maronde. They’ll play for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Alden

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