Results tagged ‘ Maicer Izturis ’
It sounds crazy, but this is the first time in seven years that Seattle — cool city, great ballpark, retractable roof — has hosted an Opening Day. On this day 38 years ago, Frank Tanana pitched a shutout in Seattle in a 7-0 win for the Angels. The Angels have won nine of their last 11 Opening Days, but lost last year. In fact, the Mariners swept the Angels at Angel Stadium to open the 2014 season, outscoring them by 18 runs in the process.
Jered Weaver (seven) is tied for the third-most Opening Day starts since 2006, along with James Shields, Justin Verlander and Roy Halladay. The only two ahead of him are CC Sabathia (nine) and his Monday opponent, Felix Hernandez (eight). With Johnny Giavotella, 2015 marks the first time the Angels have had an Opening Day second baseman not named Howie Kendrick since Maicer Izturis in 2006.
The Mariners have been the Angels’ most frequent Opening Day opponent. They’re 6-4 against them to start the season, but were 7-12 against them last year. Weaver is 3-2 with a 2.31 ERA on Opening Day, 14-10 with a 3.37 ERA against the Mariners and 7-8 with a 4.49 ERA at Safeco Field.
Here are the lineups …
Kole Calhoun, RF
Mike Trout, CF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Matt Joyce, LF
David Freese, 3B
Erick Aybar, SS
C.J. Cron, DH
Chris Iannetta, C
SP: RH Weaver (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Austin Jackson, CF
Seth Smith, RF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, DH
Kyle Seager, 3B
Logan Morrison, 1B
Mike Zunino, C
Dustin Ackley, LF
Brad Miller, SS
SP: RH Hernandez (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
- It’ll be interesting to see how the Angels use Taylor Featherston. They like his skills defensively, but he’s never played above Double-A. I think we’re going to see him play some second base late, with the Angels pinch-hitting Giavotella against a tough right-handed reliever. “I think what he lacks in experience, his athleticism and talent will make up for,” Mike Scioscia said. “We’re not going to be afraid to use him.”
- Scioscia is leaning towards Drew Rucinski to start on April 14, the first day the Angels need a fifth starter. Jose Alvarez is not stretched out enough, and Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano are not on schedule for that day.
- Garrett Richards is here to take part in the Opening Day ceremonies. He’ll then pitch in a camp game on Thursday and start a rehab assignment April 14, though he could make only one start and then be available the next time through the order.
- The seventh inning “is going to be a matchup” with the bullpen, Scioscia said. I expect Mike Morin to get most of the time there, but we could see Fernando Salas being used against lefties. He was pretty effective against them last year.
- Will Cron be an everyday player, or will he sit against tough righties (today being an exception)? “I think C.J. will get a lion’s share of at-bats at first base and DH,” Scioscia said. “We gotta get bench guys in games, too, to make sure they’re sharp, keep starters fresh, but the plan is to get C.J. in there a lot. No doubt this spring he swung the bat better than last year. We want to give him a chance to contribute.”
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.
The Angels, in case you missed it, had quite the turnover this offseason. I knew that. But it didn’t really hit me until today, when I decided to compile a list of all the guys who are on a new team this spring. Below are nine of them — with Jason Isringhausen still in limbo — to catch you up on how 2012 Angels look heading into 2013 …
RF Torii Hunter (DET)
Numbers: .207 BA (6-for-29), 1 HR, 2 RBI
SP Zack Greinke (LAD)
Numbers: 3.60 ERA (2 ER, 5 IP), 3 K, 1 BB
Notes: Greinke missed Sunday’s bullpen session with minor forearm tightness and missed Wednesday’s start because of the flu, but he had an impressive bullpen session on Friday. Earlier in the spring, Greinke went into his social-anxiety disorder and his decision to sign with the Dodgers.
SP Dan Haren (WAS)
Numbers: 0-1, 3.60 ERA (2 ER, 5 IP), 5 K, 1 BB
Notes: Haren felt “a lot of good stuff” came out of his last outing. Last year, he said, “I didn’t trust myself.” Haren was involved in a prank-call this spring. Somebody made Peter Bourjos‘ cell phone ring in a pre-workout meeting — he suspected Mark Trumbo or Jered Weaver, or both — and the person on the other end was Haren, who was put on speaker phone so he could briefly talk with all of his ex-teammates.
SP Ervin Santana (KCR)
Numbers: 1.80 ERA (1 ER, 5 IP), 6 K, 1 BB
Notes: At $13 million, Santana is the highest-paid player on the Royals this year. They’re counting on a bounceback year.
DH Kendrys Morales (SEA)
Numbers: .320 BA (8-for-25), 2 HR, 4 RBI
Notes: Now that he has a full season under his belt after that devastating ankle injury, Morales can finally just have a normal spring. That’s big, given that this is his walk year.
INF Maicer Izturis (TOR)
Numbers: .160 BA (4-for-25), 1 RBI
Notes: Not a good start for Izturis, since he’s going to be fighting for playing time.
RP Jordan Walden (ATL)
Numbers: 1 IP, 4 R (1 ER), 3 H, 0 SO, 0 BB
Notes: Walden hasn’t appeared in a game since Feb. 23 due to a bulging disk in his back. He received an epidural injection in Atlanta on Wednesday, and if he continues to progress, he could throw off a mound again this weekend.
RP LaTroy Hawkins (NYM)
Numbers: 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 SO, 0 BB
Notes: Hawkins is 40 years old and now, after signing a Minor League deal with the Mets this offseason, has a good chance to make an Opening Day roster with his 10th different team.
C Bobby Wilson (NYY)
Numbers: .167 BA (2-for-12)
Notes: Some of you may be surprised to see he’s even on the Yankees. Wilson was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays early in the offseason, but was released in late November and signed with the Yankees on a Minor League deal a couple weeks later. He’ll be in Triple-A, but with not much talent in front of him — Austin Romine, Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart — perhaps he can win playing time.
Spring Training will be a little different for the Angels this year, in a good way.
Remember last year, when there was no way to nail down exactly what the Angels’ Opening Day roster would look like? Kendrys Morales was still recovering; Mark Trumbo was learning third base; Vernon Wells, Bobby Abreu and Peter Bourjos were fighting for playing time in the outfield; Mike Trout was hoping to find some way to stick; Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis were wondering how much they’d play.
This year, I can pretty much give you 23 of the 25 players who will crack the active roster (if healthy, of course).
But there are 64 players (so far) who will be in Tempe Diablo Stadium by the end of this week. And on the eve before pitchers and catchers report, I thought I’d break down the roster for you.
A few quick notes: Some of those I have “competing,” particularly for the final bullpen spot, can easily be placed in the “Minor League depth” section. … I’d bet on Hank Conger locking down the back-up catcher spot and Garrett Richards winning the final bullpen spot. … Back-up infielder and back-up outfielder are wide open, in my mind. And all the candidates for each are very similar. Yes, I think the last bench spot will be a left-handed-hitting outfielder-type.
CL: Ryan Madson
SU: Ernesto Frieri
SU: Sean Burnett
MR: Kevin Jepsen
MR: Scott Downs
LR: Jerome Williams
C: Chris Iannetta
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Howie Kendrick
3B: Alberto Callaspo
SS: Erick Aybar
LF: Mike Trout
CF: Peter Bourjos
RF: Josh Hamilton
DH: Mark Trumbo
OF: Vernon Wells
Final bullpen spot
RH Fernando Cabrera
RH David Carpenter
RH Bobby Cassevah
RH Robert Coello
RH Steve Geltz
RH Kevin Johnson
RH Hiroyuki Kobayashi
RH Michael Kohn
LH Nick Maronde
RH Tony Pena
RH Garrett Richards
LH Brandon Sisk
LH Mitch Stetter
Last bench spot (OF)
C Jett Bandy
RH Ryan Brasier
3B Kaleb Cowart
OF Randal Grichuk
3B Luis Jimenez
2B Taylor Lindsey
C Carlos Ramirez
RH A.J. Schugel
SS Eric Stamets
LH Andrew Taylor
CF Travis Witherspoon
C Zach Wright
2B Alex Yarbrough
MINOR LEAGUE DEPTH
RH Billy Buckner
RH Barry Enright
LH Brad Mills
1B Efren Navarro
In honor of Paul Simon, who told you about the 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, below are Five Ways To Leave Vernon Wells. Not as catchy, I know. And it’s not as easy as slipping out the back (Jack), or making a new plan (Stan), or hopping off the bus (Gus) — OK, I’ll stop.
The best way to get it done may be a little bad-contract swapping.
Look, it’s no secret the Angels would prefer to part ways with Wells, who’s owed $42 million through the 2014 season. At this point, they can’t expect much salary relief (if any) in the process, but what they can do is create some breathing room in a clogged-up outfield and perhaps get a player back who can help them in an area of need. At the same time, they’d probably be helping Wells, sending him to a place where he can play more regularly. The best way to do it, perhaps, is to try and find a match with a team that has a similarly unfriendly contract. The Cubs did it in 2009, sending the volatile Milton Bradley to the Mariners in exchange for Carlos Silva. The Angels themselves tried to do it last offseason, with Bobby Abreu slated to return to the Yankees before A.J. Burnett evoked his limited no-trade clause.
Is there a similar partner for Wells this offseason? Below are some possibilities. Two things to keep in mind: 1. This is merely speculative — nothing more than my own opinion; 2. The Angels may consider the next two years of Wells’ contract a wash, so perhaps they’ll have little issue with paying the difference in a trade. The benefit for them is creating flexibility in the outfield — perhaps easing a return for Torii Hunter — while getting a player who may help them. If they can save a couple million dollars, too, even better.
BOS SP John Lackey ($30.5M thru ’14)
After winning 102 games, posting a 3.81 ERA and having a few memorable postseason moments in eight seasons with the Angels, Lackey put up a 4.40 ERA in his first year with the Red Sox, followed by a 6.41 ERA in 2011, followed by Tommy John surgery in October that knocked him out for all of this past season. But the soon-to-be 34-year-old progressed towards the end of the year, should have a normal offseason and is expected to be ready to go by the start of Spring Training. Would Boston go for it? They have Jacoby Ellsbury in center and there appears to be strong mutual interest in Cody Ross returning. Other than that, though, they have several uncertainties in Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney and Ryan Kalish. Wells, meanwhile, may be a nice fit for the Green Monster, and to them, Lackey may represent part of that toxic clubhouse they’re still trying to fumigate.
NYY 3B Alex Rodriguez ($114M thru ’17)
It’s an easy place to go these days, since A-Rod is getting benched in the playoffs while being booed mercifully by the home crowd and the Angels could use an upgrade at third base. But A-Rod’s deal extends three years longer than Wells’, at $61 million. I’m thinking one $200 million deal (Albert Pujols) is enough in Anaheim.
CWS DH Adam Dunn ($30M thru ’14)
Bringing him on board as a lefty middle-of-the-order hitter could free up a trade for Kendrys Morales, who’s heading into his final year before free agency. But Dunn turned it around in 2012, raising his OPS from .569 to .800, and may claim AL Comeback Player of the Year honors for it (Morales is also in the running). This no longer looks like a salary dump for the White Sox.
SEA UT Chone Figgins ($8M in ’13, $9M vesting option in ’14)
This is one that seems to make sense for both sides. Figgins has said he wants out of Seattle, and he’d probably embrace a return to the place he thrived from 2002-09. The Angels could use a utility man with Maicer Izturis expected to depart via free agency (though Figgins doesn’t help them at shortstop). The Mariners, meanwhile, are in desperate need of power and Wells may be a nice fit now that they’re moving the fences in at Safeco Field. One problem: The money. In case you hadn’t noticed, Figgins’ deal is a lot friendlier than Wells’. But, hey, if the Angels see Wells’ contract as a wash, that may not be an issue. By the way, Figgins’ 2014 option automatically vests with 600 plate appearances in 2013 — meaning it probably won’t automatically vest.
SFG SP Barry Zito ($20M in ’13, $18M club option — and $7M buyout — in ’14)
Another one that may fill needs on both sides. Zito would move into the Angels’ rotation — a rotation that could lose up to three-fifths of the 2012 makeup — and Wells would go to a team that, like the Mariners, is perpetually looking for offense. Plus, Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan will hit free agency this offseason. But do the Giants really benefit from this? Though obviously no longer the same pitcher, Zito had a descent year with a 4.15 ERA in 184 1/3 innings. And in their desire to upgrade the offense, the Giants, three wins away from the World Series, may have higher aspirations than Wells. Zito, by the way, has a full no-trade clause — but he is a SoCal product.
Not mentioned: CHC LF Alfonso Soriano ($36M thru ’14); NYM LF Jason Bay ($16M in ’13, $17M club option in ’14); NYM SP Johan Santana ($25.5M in ’13, $25M club option in ’14); LAD SP Josh Beckett and 3B Hanley Ramirez ($31.5M thru ’14 each); LAD LF Carl Crawford ($102.5M thru ’17); MIA RP Heath Bell ($18M thru ’14).
Is there a list of Angels who have options and/or being lost to free agency? — @_Neat
I can give you one right here …
Free agents: SP Zack Greinke, OF Torii Hunter, INF Maicer Izturis, RP LaTroy Hawkins, RP Jason Isringhausen
Club options: SP Dan Haren ($15.5M; $3.5M buyout), SP Ervin Santana ($13M; $1M)
Mutual option: C Chris Iannetta ($5M; $250K buyout)
Well, the Angels need a miracle. But, as Mark Trumbo said after last night’s doubleheader split, “It’s a chance.” In order to force a tiebreaker for the second Wild Card spot, the Angels must sweep and the A’s must get swept. If the Rays also sweep, we’d have a three-team tiebreaker scenario, which would really complicate things. Here are the lineups from a gorgeous Monday at Safeco Field …
Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (12-10, 3.86 ERA)
Pitching: RH Felix Hernandez (13-8, 2.86 ERA)
- Erick Aybar is still feeling tightness in his right quad and won’t be available tonight. Will he be available in any of these last three regular-season games? That’s unknown right now.
- Trout’s jersey is the fifth-highest-selling in the Majors. The top four are: Derek Jeter, Josh Hamilton, Ichiro Suzuki and Bryce Harper. Pujols did not crack the Top 20.
- The Angels and Class A Inland Empire announced a two-year extension, through 2014.
- Hunter enters today batting .313 and is now a lock to hit .300 for the first time in his career — even if he goes 0-for-5 in each of these last three games. He’ll be the oldest (37) to do it for the first time since 1957.
- If there’s anything surprising about Trout’s rookie season it’s that he reached 30 homers — despite missing a month and after totaling only 23 in 286 career Minor League games. Part of that is a somewhat more upright batting stance. Here’s what Mike Scioscia said: “If you saw Mike take batting practice and swing, play in games when he was 17, you saw the potential. He was 17 in Angel Stadium going oppo six, seven rows back like a left-handed pull hitter. I think you were pretty sure that he was going to develop power at some time.”
Perhaps the Angels are, in a very small way, indeed in control of their own destiny. Yeah, they enter today two games back of the final playoff spot, with only nine games left and none of them against the teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race. But if they win out, they would at the very least be guaranteed a tie for the final playoff spot, because the A’s and Rangers play each other six more times (including tonight, in Texas) and the Angels have three remaining against the Rangers. (Thanks to Twitter follower @Monyett88 for passing that along). Now, of course, the likely scenario is that they don’t win out. That would give them a 12-game winning streak to end the season. Their longest winning streak of the year has been eight. So, in the end, they probably will need help. The Angels are 22-8 in their last 30 home games against the Mariners …
Dustin Ackley, 2B
Franklin Gutierrez, CF
Kyle Seager, 3B
John Jaso, DH
Justin Smoak, 1B
Eric Thames, RF
Miguel Olivo, C
Trayvon Robinson, LF
Brendan Ryan, SS
Pitching: RH Erasmo Ramirez (1-2, 3.28 ERA)
Pitching: RH Zack Greinke (5-2, 3.51 ERA)
- Mike Scioscia opted to push Ervin Santana back for a second straight time this week. Dan Haren will pitch Thursday’s series finale, on normal rest, and Santana will pitch at Rangers Ballpark on Saturday, on seven days’ rest. The reason is two-fold: Santana has been pitcher pretty well and is seems he’d prefer to have him face the Rangers’ lineup; the extra rest will come in handy if Santana needs to be available out of the bullpen in the season’s final series.
- Izturis is starting in place of Howie Kendrick against a right-handed starter once again, but Scioscia said it has more to do with today’s pitching match-up and isn’t any sort of long-term plan. “It’s a smaller sample size with this pitcher tonight,” Scioscia said, “but right now it looks like he’s really just doing a good job against righties. He’s pitching well against lefties, but there’s a little bit of a spread there.”
- Asked why it appears Garrett Richards has jumped ex-closer Jordan Walden in the bullpen depth chart, Scioscia said: “In that area that they’re in right now, the depth isn’t as important as just the production. It’s not like you’re going to a guy in the sixth inning or whatever on a nightly basis. We’ve been able to get past that at times. Garrett’s been fresh and has really been bringing some good stuff into games, so he’s getting maybe a couple more of the looks than Jordan does. We definitely need Jordan, he’s got a big arm, and hopefully he’s going to bring that stuff into games that he’s shown he has.”
- The only other active player, besides Pujols, with 10 or more triple-digit RBI seasons is Alex Rodriguez (14).
- Trout is the fourth rookie in history since 1964 to reach 120-plus runs and is two runs shy of matching the Angels’ single-season record of 124 by Vladimir Guerrero in ’04.
- The Angels announced one of their Class A affiliates will no longer reside in Cedar Rapids. For the next two years, it’ll be the Burlington Bees.
Ervin Santana wasn’t too happy about having to start on eight days’ rest, because he had been pitching so well lately and because the come-backer he took to the right wrist wasn’t that big an issue. “Why, if I was pitching good? I don’t need any extra time. I don’t know, that’s their situation, what they want to do with the rotation. I have nothing to do with that. I’m just here to pitch. When they tell me to pitch, I pitch.” And Santana will pitch against the first-place White Sox, with the Angels holding onto their postseason hopes by the skin of their teeth. They’re 4 1/2 games out with 12 left.
White Sox (81-68)
Pitching: RH Jake Peavy (11-11, 3.26 ERA)
Pitching: RH Ervin Santana (8-12, 5.08 ERA)
- One night after Ernesto Frieri lost a second straight game — and Zack Greinke‘s opportunity for a win — by giving up the home-run ball in the ninth inning, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he’ll “match up more” in the ninth inning. “His confidence isn’t quite where it should be,” Scioscia said, “but we need Ernie and we need him in the back end in some capacity, no doubt.”
- Peter Bourjos has been bothered by flu-like symptoms since Wednesday. He says he’s “achy, tired, low fever — exhausted, really.”
- Scioscia re-hashed the decision to not pitch Greinke (again) with 109 pitches. Here’s what he said: “I’m very comfortable with the decision we made in Kansas City and last night. Of where Zack is in the season, with the amount of mileage, as every pitcher has, I don’t think it’s worth in a guy’s career to try to stretch him in a game that he might or might not get through an inning. That’s the bottom line. … We’re not out here trying to lose games. We didn’t put Peter Bourojs in to pitch, we didn’t yank him to pitch Howie Kendrick. We put in guys who we feel are going to go out there and do a job as well as anybody that we’re going to send back out there on a high pitch count. That’s what we’re looking at.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia will often tell you that he doesn’t look at the standings. “Our focus is in-house,” is one of his favorite cliches. But with 15 games left, a three-game deficit of the Orioles for the second American League Wild Card spot, and no head-to-head games remaining against the teams in front of them (unless you coutn the Rangers, which they have basically no shot at catching), Scioscia can’t say that anymore. “There’s a time it’s relevant [to look at the standings] and there’s a time it’s not relevant,” he said. “It’s relevant now.” …
Pitching: RH Ryan Dempster (6-1, 4.11 ERA)
Pitching: RH Jered Weaver (17-4, 2.74 ERA)
- If you didn’t notice, Albert Pujols isn’t with the team. He stayed back in Kansas City to be with his wife, who had the couple’s fifth child in the wee hours of Sunday morning. “There’s no doubt Albert is where he needs to be, no doubt,” Scioscia said. “I’m speaking for myself. You can ask other people in our organization, but I’m sure we’re all on the same page with that.”
- Maicer Izturis (left ribs) swung a bat in Kansas City on Sunday, took part in pregame activities and the belief is that he’ll be available off the bench today.
- C.J. Wilson is the Angels’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.
- Trout will be on the cover of the next issue of ESPN The Magazine, which hits newsstands Friday.
- Weaver enters tonight one wiin shy of matching his career-high for wins in a season (18) and reaching 100 for his career. In 13 career starts against the Rangers at Angel Stadium, he’s 8-0 with a 2.16 ERA.