Results tagged ‘ Terry Smith ’

Clearing out the Winter Meetings notebook …

hectorBelow is a Q&A with new pitcher Hector Santiago, and after that are plenty of other notes and links pertaining to the hectic four-day event that’s prone to make a lot of things fly under the radar.

On being traded for the first time in his career … 

I think it’s all for the better. Hopefully for the better of all the teams and for the better of my career. It seems like the Angels are really happy to have me. And as long as they want me there, it’s nice to have that. As long as they want to have me, I’m happy to be there.

On whether it took him by surprise … 

I had an idea that was going to happen, with having four lefties in the rotation. It’s the first time I’ve been traded in my career, so I really didn’t know how to react and don’t know how to go by it. But I kind of felt it coming. I heard a bunch of rumors and just people texting, like, ‘Hey, it’s possible.’ I kind of had an idea it was possible. I didn’t know if it was going to go through, especially talking to the White Sox, planning ahead, trying to get ready for 200 innings next year as a starter in the White Sox rotation. And then a week and a half, two weeks later, it was like, ‘Oh, you just got traded.’ But it’s for the better, so I’m happy.

On his comfort level in bouncing around from bullpen to rotation … 

I’m really comfortable. I feel like I’ve done it all the time, through high school and college, Minor League Baseball and the big leagues. Forever. It’s to the point where it’s normal to me. Growing up as a kid in high school, playing summer ball, I would play center field for two innings and then pitch. It’s something I’ve done before, jumping all over the place. But it was definitely a fun experience, coming up from being a starter in the Minor Leagues and then the big leagues. I’ve had every role I think that you can have in the big leagues. It was definitely fun, because you came to the park not knowing what was going on. It was definitely a fun experience in coming to the field every day and not knowing what was going to happen.

On building off 2013 … 

It was definitely a different year — innings-wise, strength-wise, learning how to pitch every fifth day. It was definitely a new experience. I don’t know if I made this many, but I had a bunch of starts in the Minor Leagues in 2011 and it definitely wasn’t as difficult as this, between the big league level and playing great teams every day. But I learned a lot. This year, I definitely want to improve on going after guys  earlier in the count, get some earlier outs so I can get deeper in the game. It seemed like at the beginning of the game, in the first inning, I’d worry about starting the game with a zero instead of just pitching the same way later in the game. So, early in the game, if I attack the zone more, I felt like after the first, second inning, it was an easier inning for me. It was me putting pressure on myself to start off the game clean and making sure that I gave my team a 0-0 score, and hopefully we can get some runs early in the game. And I put a lot of pressure on myself with my stuff and with my command. That was a big thing of just getting used to the role of a starting pitcher. In the bullpen, you come in for one inning, so you have a little bit of leeway where you can waste a few pitches. But as a starter, you have to try to get as many early outs as you can.

On what he was told in his phone call with the Angels … 

It was short, brief. [Jerry Dipoto] was just saying, ‘We’re happy to have you. We had to make a move, and I felt like you were the right move for what we needed and you fill a spot that needed to be filled.’ … They seem very excited to have me, and it seems like I’m going to hopefully be filling one of the voids that they need.

***

trum

* Shortly after getting traded to the D-backs on Tuesday, Mark Trumbo reached out to the Angels’ PR department to ask about still attending the team’s annual Holiday Party at the ESPN Zone. They couldn’t believe it. And they were even more stunned when he actually showed up the next day, alongside Hank CongerChuck FinleyAdam Kennedy and others. (Photo on the left courtesy of Angels PR man Eric Kay.)

Angels broadcasters Jose Mota and Terry Smith left Trumbo for last during the introductions, and he got by far the loudest ovation.

“I’ve been attending these parties for as long as I’ve been here, 11 years,” Mota said, “but you know one thing — Trumbo has been going to these parties since he was in A ball, and that part doesn’t surprise me because he’s so invested in the community-outreach programs, which he’s done for so many years. And we’re talking about a guy who, because he’s local, he was accessible, good kid, the Angels felt comfortable calling him out of A ball and saying, ‘Come to this party.’ But to see a player who had just gotten traded, No. 1, putting away all the emotions, and then a guy that is not an Angel at that party, it was a bit strange.

“He didn’t put the jersey on, of course,” Mota added. “But he was Trumbo. He was just Mark Trumbo, that’s all you expected. And he had a huge ovation from the kids and all the adults that were there because they knew that this is quite a unique thing — a guy who’s not on the team, got traded, could’ve been mopy. He decided, ‘No, this is who I am.’ You talk about showing your true colors and who you really are, I don’t think it speaks any better than that action right there.”

* Trumbo, during a phone conversation with Lyle Spencer and I, admitted that he smiled when he realized he’d be ditching the Angel Stadium marine layer and was following Tuesday’s trade rumors via Twitter “more than I lead on, probably.”

“I knew that things were getting close from messages and phone calls I received,” Trumbo said, “but I did find out first on Twitter that things had become official, so that’s kind of some insight from a player’s perspective that, in this day and age, that’s how things work.”

* Spoke to yet another scout about Tyler Skaggs recently. Here’s what he said (and this guy knows him very well) …

People seem concerned about a loss of velocity. But if you go back to what you thought he was going to be, when you drafted, scouted and signed him, that’s exactly the fastball that he’s working with now. Maybe for a short time he peaked a little bit and worked at 93, 94 or whatever, but he’s 88 to 91, touches 92 occasional now. That’s plenty of fastball, when you consider his curveball and his changeup, and the belief that he’s been a strike-thrower. I know his strikeout numbers are all right. He’s got angle, he’s got plane, he’s got spin, he’s got some touch-and-feel, some back-and-forth with the changeup. This guy was well-regarded, highly regarded throughout the industry, had the numbers to match up. He had a mediocre year last year. … I think the comfort level of going back where he came from is going to help. He’s a Southern California kid. There’s going to be a comfort level, a familiarity level. 

* You think coaching the Yankees, Cowboys or Lakers is a pressure-filled job? That’s nothing compared to managing winter ball, and Angels bench coach Dino Ebel experienced that recently. Ebel, promoted from third-base coach shortly after the season, was managing the Estrellas Orientales of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. But that lasted only 18 games. He went 6-12, and then was let go, done in time to join Mike Scioscia and several other members of the Angels’ coaching staff at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

* Someone who is still playing winter ball — for the Leones de Escogido in the D.R. — is C.J. Cron, who’s batting .212/.250/.364 through eight games. That’s a lot of baseball for Cron, who played a full season of Double-A (.746 OPS) and tore it up in the Arizona Fall League (1.167), but he’s a first baseman/designated hitter, so it’s not like he has to move around too much. The Angels view him as a potential option for them late in 2014.

* Some additional minutia on the Angels’ situation at the moment: Matt Garza is still “the guy they really want” a source said Friday, but the perception is that they won’t go above a four-year contract. … The Angels still aren’t expected to spend much on a bat. Right now, they’re budgeting a one-year deal worth less than $5 million. Can they get Raul Ibanez or Kevin Youkilis for that? We’ll see. … Santiago and Skaggs  both have options left, but it looks like Santiago has a spot on the Major League roster (as a starter or a reliever) and Skaggs is more of a question. Either he starts in the Majors or in Triple-A. Both have options, nonetheless.

Winter Meetings stories …

Angels Notebook from Day 1, on Albert Pujols‘ health, Mike Trout extension talks and the evolving AL West
Phillip Wellman (this guy) will manage the Angels’ Double-A affiliate
Story on the three-team trade between the D-backs, White Sox and Angels
Spencer, on how the deal benefits the Angels
Trout’s cycle lands GIBBY for Hitting Performance
Trout likely to bat second again next season
Spencer, on Scioscia seeking chemistry on the field
Lefty specialist picked up in Rule 5 Draft
On what’s next, now that the Winter Meetings are over

Alden

Vernon: ‘I want to play for the Angels’

Vernon WellsIf it wasn’t already obvious (it should’ve been), then the Phillies’ recent signing of Delmon Young seemingly sealed it: Vernon Wells and his bloated contract will be with the Angels in 2013. At least the early part of it.

The Phillies were one of few teams linked to Wells this offseason, and the fact they were only willing to guarantee Young $750,000 (with bonuses that can ramp it up to $3.5 million) is perhaps an indication of how dry the market for Wells is at this point.

The Angels expect to absorb a vast majority of the $42 million owed to Wells over the next two years in any trade, but they won’t give him away. They still feel he can contribute — as a right-handed power hitter and the first outfielder off the bench; perhaps even as insurance if Peter Bourjos gets off to a rough start — and they’d want to replace him via free agency if he departed anyway.

So, for the first time in his career, Wells will show up to Spring Training as a clear reserve, behind Bourjos, Mike TroutJosh Hamilton and DH Mark Trumbo in the outfield pecking order.

On Monday, 17 days before position players take their physicals in Tempe, Ariz., Wells joined “Angels Talk” hosts Victor Rojas and Terry Smith AM 830 KLAA. Asked about his diminished role, he took the high road — he always does — and didn’t really seem too bothered by it.

Here’s a partial transcript:

On being hurt the last couple years …

“I think that’s just part of the process. I don’t think it matters where you are in your career. You’re going to have some frustrating times, and unfortunately the last couple years have been frustrating, not only for myself, but for a lot of outsiders also. I think that’s what the offseasons are for, to kind of get a chance to regroup and refocus, and I think the thing for me moving forward is I have to be comfortable. I have to just relax and go play the game like I did when I was a kid. I don’t think I’ve done that as much as I’ve needed to.”

On the preparation going into a season when he’ll probably come off the bench …

“I think every athlete prefers just to be in the best shape they can and for whatever’s thrown at him in Spring Training. I don’t know exactly what the role is going to be. I think it’s been documented what it could be. But for me, as a competitor, you have to go in and be ready to fight. I think that’s what everyone wants to do and everybody’s going to do, because in order for this team to achieve what it needs to, everyone has to be thinking that way.”

On whether the trade rumors have bothered him …

“No, not at all. I put myself in that position, so I can’t get mad about it. I think that’s pretty obvious. You live and you learn. I’ve enjoyed my last two years, even though it’s been frustrating at times, but everything you go through you learn from it, and sometimes it takes a month, sometimes it takes a year, and sometimes it takes two years to kind of get everything straightened out. But I like the opportunity I’m going to get, and I’m going to run with whatever they tell me to do.”

On whether he’d prefer to go to a team with a more prominent role …

“I want to play, and I want to play for the Angels. But I have to earn that. That’s an easy question to answer. I want to be an Angel and I want to play. If I don’t get the opportunity to play, then obviously I need to continue to work harder because I still want to wear the uniform. I want to be able to really show what I can do, and I haven’t been able to do that the last couple of years. There’s still a lot to show some Angel fans. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do that, and if I don’t get it, then so be it.”

Alden 

Day 4: “Best shape of my life” …

That’s the phrase we sportswriters hear over and over again from players this time of year, many of whom come into camp bragging about their offseason workouts and all claim: “I’m in the best shape of my life.”

Two non-players on the Angels can really make that claim, though.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia has committed himself to losing weight, as outlined in this LA Times story, drastically changing his eating habits and shedding nearly 40 pounds. And he says he wants to lose another 20. Meanwhile, if you haven’t recently seen Terry Smith, the radio play-by-play man for AM 830, you probably wouldn’t recognize him. Smith has shed nearly 60 pounds since then.

The two reunited Thursday, glowing about each other’s progress, but Scioscia cautioned Smith not to lose anymore weight. He’s skinny enough already.

Here are some notes from Day 4 of full workouts …

  • In case you missed it, here’s a transcript of my chat.
  • The Angels didn’t add any premier arms to the bullpen, so they’ll be heavily relying on the young Jordan Walden to take the next step. In hopes of him doing that, they’ve surrounded him in a cocoon of experience and moxie.
  • Scioscia prefers to bat Albert Pujols third, but there could be a scenario where he’s the cleanup hitter.
  • As for who will hit in front of Pujols, that’s still up in the air. Scioscia is seeking the best combo for the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, and it seems everyone is a possibility — Howie Kendrick, Bobby Abreu, Erick Aybar, Peter Bourjos, Alberto Callaspo and Vernon Wells. Yes, Vernon Wells.
  • David Eckstein had a bunch of Major League offers for 2011, but he chose to walk away. Here’s why.
  • The playoffs could be expanded to two Wild Card teams soon. And that could only mean one thing.
  • Saturday’s scrimmage is tentatively scheduled for 12:30 p.m. MT at Tempe Diablo Stadium. No, it will not be televised.
  • Don’t look for veterans like LaTroy Hawkins, Jason Isringhausen or Scott Downs to throw in that game. They’re taking it extra slow with their throwing programs and may not pitch in the Cactus League schedule’s first week.
  • Mark Trumbo isn’t getting reps in the outfield yet, but could soon once his running progresses far enough.
  • Catcher Robinzon Diaz, a non-roster invitee, finally got his visa issues cleared and has arrived at Angels camp.
  • No Chris Bosh, no problem. Heat keep rolling with a 107-93 win over the Blazers on Thursday night. That’s nine in a row, all by  double-figures. Sheer dominance.

Alden 

Walden, on Year 2 as closer: “I think I have a way better understanding of what it takes”

The Blue Jays’ signing of Francisco Cordero on Tuesday pretty much made it official. Barring an unforeseen trade, you can be almost sure that Jordan Walden will go into the season as the Angels’ closer, a sentiment general manager Jerry Dipoto continually sounded in favor of throughout the offseason. Dipoto would still like to upgrade the bullpen, and a source said he has at least tendered a formal offer to Luis Ayala, but there aren’t really any closers left in the free-agent market (unless you consider Brad Lidge one at this point, which you probably shouldn’t).

The Angels, for good reason, see a lot of promise in the 24-year-old, hard-throwing right-hander, who showed flashes of dominance but also experienced his share of ups and downs as a rookie in 2011.

Walden joined Angels Talk on AM 830 KLAA on Wednesday and said he has already begun throwing almost on an everyday basis in his native Texas. Here are the highlights of his conversation with host Terry Smith

On his rookie season … 

“It was just a great experience, and I learned a lot from last year. Early on in my career in that role as a closer, I was a rookie, I hadn’t been on the road trips, I was new to all the stadiums, it was all of those things. So now I’m going into a new year, knowing what it takes to be at that level.”

On being more prepared for the role this year … 

“Being more comfortable, you know? Being there, saying, ‘I’ve already pitched here.’ I’m going to be a lot more relaxed, and just knowing mentally what I have to do and physically knowing what I have to do to withstand a long season.”

On pitches he’s integrating to his fastball-slider mix … 

“Last year I showed bits and pieces of my changeup, but I think going into spring, getting into the games in spring, I’m really going to try to focus on trying to throw my changeup in games and getting a feel for it in game situations, because you can sit in the bullpen and throw a changeup all day, but once you get in a game and have a hitter up there, it’s a lot different.”

On the Angels having confidence in him as their closer … 

“Oh it’s huge. [Manager Mike] Scioscia having that confidence in me and everybody, especially with the great team that we’re going to have this year. It’s a big role, and I’m just looking forward to it. I’m excited.”

On the toughest part of being a big league closer … 

“Just being able to pitch three days, making sure you have your good stuff every night. If not, you know, sometimes you’re going to be off, but when you’re off, you have to make sure you get people out. You have to find ways. I’ve still got learning to do, but I think I have a way better understanding of what it takes.”

On the Angels bringing in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson … 

“Oh man, I was blown away. I never thought that would happen this season. I’m just excited for Spring Training, to meet some new people and have a new little team.”

On how he found out about the moves … 

“I woke up and my phone had like 15 missed calls, 15 text messages, and I was just like, ‘Why is everybody calling me?’ And everybody was texting me and I was just like, ‘No way.’ Then when I turned the TV on and they signed CJ Wilson, so it was just like, ‘Wow.’”

Other stuff … 

* MLB.com will unveil their Top 100 Prospects on MLB Network at 7 p.m. PT Hint: Mike Trout made the list. 

* MLB Network will feature an interview with Mike Scioscia, Joe Maddon, Ron Roenicke and Bud Black on Friday at 6 p.m. 

* And here’s a blog post with an update on the Luis Ayala situation

Alden 

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