Results tagged ‘ Matt Long ’
Most important thing: Jered Weaver labored through 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks. But he finished strong, striking out three of the last five batters he faced, and felt perfectly healthy afterwards. Weaver sat at mostly 86 to 88 mph with his fastball, hitting 89 mph twice, which is normal for him.
Second-most important thing: A lot of the guys fighting for bench spots had nice showings. Andrew Romine drew three walks and drove in two runs. Grant Green went 2-for-4 with a double (though he misplayed a grounder at second base and hardly got any action at third). And Collin Cowgill hit a long two-run homer against Trevor Bauer.
Third-most important thing: C.J. Cron continues to hit, and he’s handling himself pretty well defensively at first base. The 24-year-old spent the summer trying to gain a better strike zone awareness in Double-A and had an up-and-down season for the Arkansas Travelers. But he raked in the Arizona Fall League and is having a very nice spring, going 2-for-4 on Monday to put his Cactus League batting average at .545.
Fourth-most important thing: Matt Long is a longshot to make the team, but he went on a tear on Monday, getting four hits and falling a homer shy of the cycle to lead an Angels offense that was low on everyday players — Chris Iannetta and Raul Ibanez were the only ones — but in need of some production.
Fifth-most important thing: Five relievers fighting for jobs (Buddy Boshers, Robert Carson, Josh Wall, Brandon Lyon and Michael Kohn) had scoreless outings, combining to give up only two hits while walking two and striking out four in 4 2/3 innings.
Best defensive play (that I actually saw): John McDonald, a frequent contributor to this section, dove to his left and quickly flipped across his body to get a force out at second base and rob Carlos Santana of a single in the third inning.
Best quote: Weaver, on his spring results: “I don’t worry about that until the last start before the season. … Until then, I’m just trying to work on stuff.”
Angels’ record: 5-6-1
Most important thing: Albert Pujols played in back-to-back games for the first time this spring, and started at first base for the fourth time in six games, and made two very nice diving stops. He also singled in his third at-bat, snapping an 0-for-9 skid.
Second-most important thing: Jered Weaver pitched four complete innings in his second start, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits while giving up four hits, walking two and striking out two. Weaver said he “probably left a couple pitches up, a little excited, but other than that, I felt pretty good out there.”
Third-most important thing: Grant Green started at shortstop for the first time, playing six innings and handling the only two routine grounders hit to him — a slow roller that he changed and a charity hop he fielded slightly to his left. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said “at times he got a little too deep, but his throws across were good.” Green is expected to get a start at third base by the end of the week.
Fourth-most important thing: The Angels had two defensive blunders — on a fly ball Brennan Boesch lost in the sun and a slow roller that sneaked under Weaver’s legs before he recovered — but overall played a very strong defensive game, with nice plays by Luis Jimenez, Matt Long and Pujols.
Fifth-most important thing: Kevin Jepsen had a scoreless outing for the second straight time, giving up one hit and striking out one in the sixth.
Best defensive play (that I actually saw): With one out in the first, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford smoked a liner to right field, but Pujols dove full-extension to his right, fielded it cleanly and made the flip to Weaver.
Best quote: Weaver, on the difference between Pujols this spring compared to last spring: “It’s night and day. Just the way he’s running around, the way he’s moving at first — just walking in general he looks more healthy.”
Angels’ record: 3-3
The plantar fasciitis on his left foot, which has only grown worse as the season has progressed, has prompted Angels manager Mike Scioscia to start Pujols at DH in four straight games and six of the last seven. He’s tolerating the pain enough to not miss a single start and continue to produce at the plate, posting a .317/.436/.508 slash line in his first 17 games.
But it’s hard for Pujols’ foot to get any better when he’s having to leg out doubles.
It may be even harder to put him on the disabled list.
“You’re always picking at scabs a little bit when you’re out there and you’re trying to play and trying to run,” Scioscia said. “Hopefully, taking the load off of having to go out there and move around first base might be something that might get where it needs to be a little quicker than if he was grinding. Certainly we don’t want it to regress because he’s swinging the bat so well.”
Here’s a look at who’s shining, and who isn’t, in the Angels’ system so far …
C Chris Snyder (AAA): .358/.424/.698, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 15 G
OF Matt Long (AA): .390/.439/.576, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 16 G
SP Mark Sappington (A): 3-0, 1.59 ERA, 22 2/3 IP, 23 SO, 9 BB
3B Kaleb Cowart (AA): .179/.281/.232, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 16 G
SP Barry Enright (AAA): 1-2, 9.61 ERA, 19 2/3 IP, 20 SO, 8 BB
2B Taylor Lindsey (AA): .122/.214/.163, 15 G
By 8:59 p.m. PT today, teams must set their 40-man rosters in anticipation for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. This is when teams choose whether or not to “protect” their eligible players from being taken in that Draft, which takes place at the end of each year’s Winter Meetings (this one being Dec. 6, in Nashville, Tenn.).
For those unfamiliar with the process, here’s a quick primer …
Players who signed after age 18 and have been in the Minors for four years, or players who signed at 18 or younger and have been in the Minors for five years, are eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft if not on the 40-man roster. Now, it’s very rare that teams will find success through the Rule 5 Draft (Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana and Dan Uggla are among very few success stories) because, frankly, there’s a reason players are left exposed despite being in a system so long. Any player taken in the Rule 5 Draft costs $50,000. That player, then, must remain on the drafting team’s active Major League roster during the following season or be offered back to the original club for $25,000.
The Angels’ 40-man roster is currently at 31, so there’s some wiggle room (though the Angels must keep space for all the pitching they want to acquire this offseason). Also, an important side note: Any player who signs a Minor League deal before the Rule 5 Draft can be taken, regardless of his service time. That means each of the players the Angels signed this offseason are eligible if left off. As for guys who have been in their system for a while? Here are some names to watch …
* Travis Witherspoon, a 23-year-old center fielder who hit .268 with a .350 on-base percentage, 13 homers and 34 RBIs in high A and Double-A this season.
* Carlos Ramirez, 24, who posted a .205/.312/.276 slash line in 85 Double-A games. Ramirez, like Witherspoon, played in the Arizona Fall League.
* Orangel Arenas, a 23-year-old right-hander who went 5-11 with a 5.26 ERA in 27 games (24 starts) in Double-A.
* Matt Shoemaker, who’s 26 and went 11-10 with a 5.65 ERA in 29 Triple-A starts.
* Ryan Brasier, a 25-year-old right-handed reliever who posted a 4.37 ERA and 13 saves in 59 2/3 Triple-A innings.
* Efren Navarro, a 26-year-old lefty-hitting first baseman who won a Minor League Gold Glove in 2011 and posted a .294/.336/.403 slash line in Triple-A.
* Matt Long, a 25-year-old lefty-hitting outfielder who posted a .282/.350/.462 slash line with 23 steals in Double-A and Triple-A.
* Jeremy Berg, 26, posted a 3.75 ERA in 74 1/3 innings at Double-A and Triple-A.