Posted on: February 27, 2012 12:54 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 12:55 pm
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The new season for the Angels' Bobby Abreu started with a meeting in the manager's office.
Abreu, Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto met early Monday before the Angels' first full-squad workout to discuss Abreu's concern that there will not be enough playing time for him on a loaded team that includes Albert Pujols, Kendrys Morales, Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells and Mark Trumbo.
Scioscia assured Abreu that there will be a way to get him 400 plate appearances. Abreu has gotten fewer than 600 plate appearances only once in the past 13 years and told reporters after the meeting that he still would like to be in the 600-700 range.
"The situation right now, how it's going to be handled, we'll see," Abreu said.
Abreu, who told ESPNDeportes last week that he would rather be traded than accept a diminished role, reiterated to reporters following the meeting that he still wants to play every day but said he is satisfied -- for now.
"[Scioscia] said he's going to find a way to give me some at-bats at DH, left field, right field," Abreu said. "He said I'm not going to be on the bench for a whole week.
"That's fine. I just want to be on the field."
The situation will evolve as the spring lengthens, no doubt. But clearly, the Angels have an abundance of riches, and if Morales is healthy, there is going to be a squeeze on DH plate appearances.
The Angels project Wells in left field and Hunter in right, with Morales as the DH. Mark Trumbo, still recovering from a stress fracture suffered last season, is in the mix as well. Trumbo, who slammed 29 homers and had 87 RBIs as a rookie last season, will work at third base but likely will get some DH at-bats as well.
Morales had 34 homers and 108 RBI in 2009 and finished fifth in MVP voting that year. But he broke an ankle in May, 2010, and has not played since.
"I think he'll be in that range," Scioscia said of Abreu and 400 plate appearances. "If you look at our outfield situation, guys might get a day to DH or a day off to get off of their feet. How many days Peter [Bourjos] plays center field, how many days Vernon plays left field ... there are going to be starts. There are going to be chances for Bobby to contribute."
"I've played 150 games or more [a season] my whole career," Abreu said. "I love this game. I love to play.
"I just [told them] I want to be on the field every day."
Asked if he would waive his no-trade clause for a deal to a non-contender rather than sit on the Angels bench, Abreu said he'll take a wait-and-see approach.
"Let's see," he said. "It's tough to answer right now. We have a lot of opportunity to win now right here. When I was in Philly, when I was in New York ... I missed two rings there.
"I just want to be a part of it."
Posted on: December 10, 2011 7:08 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 7:08 pm
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Albert Pujols is not known as a speedster. You will not find him among the league leaders in stolen bases.
But do not look for the Angels to change their aggressive, National League-style approach with Pujols nestled in the middle of their lineup. While the Angels ranked fifth in the American League in stolen bases, it's not just thefts that fuels their approach. They are as aggressive going first-to-third as any team in the game.
"He's a great baserunner," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Saturday at Angel Stadium. "He beat us in St. Louis by stealing third base in a game a few years ago.
"We'll still play a well-rounded game with Albert."
While Pujols has never stolen more than 16 bases in a season -- he swiped only nine last year -- he is intelligent and aggressive on the bases. He has led the National League in runs scored five times since 2003, most recently in 2010.
"He's not going to run the bases with Peter Bourjos or Erick Aybar," Scioscia said of two of his swiftest players. "But look at the number of runs he's scored. That's going to fit right in with what we do."
So, too, will Pujols' devastating bat.
"You need that core in the middle of your lineup," Scioscia said. "And that's what we've been missing the last few years."
Posted on: September 30, 2011 6:33 pm
The Los Angeles Angels of Desperationville didn't fire a general manager on Friday, they canned an executive secretary.
Everybody knows that owner Arte Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia -- and Moreno and Scioscia alone -- run the Angels.
Somebody's gotta phone the agents and other general managers, take notes, collect information and make sure Moreno and Scioscia have enough of it to make their decisions.
That man was Reagins, a nice guy who was both badly overmatched and uncomfortable in the gig from Day One.
Now, somebody else will take the notes, make the calls and bring the information to Moreno and Scioscia so they can gather the information they need to take the Angels wherever they go from here.
And where that is is anybody's guess right now.
The Angels did not make the playoffs in 2011 -- or, in 2010, for that matter -- because the Texas Rangers are a better and smarter organization right now that has whipped them both on the field and in the executive offices.
The only reason the Angels remained competitive this summer was because of the boost young players like Mark Trumbo, Tyler Chatwood, Peter Bourjos and, yes, late in the season, Mike Trout provided.
And the man responsible for drafting them, Eddie Bane, was fired as the scouting director after last season.
Fact is, under Moreno, the Angels have become more adept at firings the past couple of years than postseasons.
They fired longtime trainer Ned Bergert last winter after 36 years in the organization. They canned Bane. A major league scout named Dale Sutherland who had been in the organization for 19 years. They've callously laid off longtime media relations employees in recent years who worked incredibly long hours and had devoted their lives to the cause.
They can call Reagins' departure a resignation if they want. But when the second paragraph of the news release contains a statement from Moreno saying, "Though we finished 2011 with a winning record, we remained short of our objective in winning a championship. In moving forward, we felt a change was needed", that's a firing.
Moreno got years of great publicity after the first thing he did as owner was lower stadium beer prices, but his ownership clearly is at a crossroads right now. Though he talks the talk of winning championships, he's consistently failed in the free agent market over the past several winters: Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre, among others.
Bottom line, the Angels' actions jibe with their words less and less frequently. The organization has become soulless, and disingenuous.
Reagins certainly wasn't the cause of this, only a symptom. He clearly was carrying out others' orders as a GM, while the real stuff was going on behind the curtain.
The Angels can hire another GM. But until they change the process, until that GM isn't just a puppet on a string, the gap between the Rangers and Angels is going to continue to grow.
Posted on: September 23, 2011 9:15 pm
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Sometimes, scoreboard watching turns into schedule watching.
That's where the Angels were Friday as they shrugged off not only a crushing loss in Toronto on Thursday night, but an overnight flight that didn't get them back to Southern California until after 3 a.m. Friday morning.
So when word came that one of the key teams the Angels are chasing -- Boston -- was rained out Friday in New York, Angels manager Mike Scioscia grinned.
"Can we not play today and play a double-header Sunday to match up?" Scioscia quipped.
"The last time I remember looking at my clock, it was 4:04 a.m.," Scioscia said.
But as he insisted, "the page was turned."
We'll see. The Angels were one loss and one Texas victory away from elimination in the AL West as they headed out to face Oakland to begin a weekend series on Friday. They were watching both the scoreboard ... and the schedule.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 11:17 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 12:05 am
Fact: The Angels are 19-4 when rookie outfielder Mike Trout starts.
Fact: The Angels started their series with the Yankees on Friday trailing Texas by 2 1/2 games ... and with Trout on the bench.
So ... is Mike Scioscia working on throwing the AL West race?
The quick answer, obviously, is no. He's playing the angles he thinks are best for the Angels. Trout, who recently turned 20, starts against left-handers. Scioscia says Trout will be in Saturday's lineup when CC Sabathia starts for the Yankees.
Still, even with righty Bartolo Colon on the mound, it's difficult to believe Trout would be a worse option than Vernon Wells (.252 on-base percentage, starting in left field) or even Bobby Abreu (.253 batting average, designated hitter).
Scioscia says Trout took some "good swings" in the Seattle series. He also says the Mariners pitched him differently than they did a month ago.
"Now Mike understands what the pitchers are trying to do and is making some adjustments," Scioscia said.
Trout, named as Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year this week, is hitting .230 with a .299 on-base percentage and a .448 slugging percentage in 29 games with the Angels. He has five homers in 97 plate appearances.
Asked about Maicer Izturis sitting in favor of Alberto Callaspo at third base Friday night, Scioscia said, in a statement that extends to Trout as well: "We're looking for production right now. We're not thinking a month or two down the road. Guys are going to play where they match up."
In Trout's case, he understands that.
"You learn [with] every pitch every inning," Trout said. "If I need anything, I go to Torii Hunter or Vernon. They've played my position. Petey Bourjos, as well. He knows how I'm feeling. He's been through it."
Trout's highlight so far was smashing his first big league homer, a three-run job, in front of 15-20 family members and dozens of friends in Baltimore on July 24. The most difficult thing, he said, is "calming yourself down. The first couple of games, I was jittery."
The Angels are happy with the way he's handling himself. But they're still not going to play him every day.
In 63 plate appearances against right-handers, Trout is hitting .214/.302/.357.
In 34 plate appearances against lefties, Trout is hitting ..258/.294/.613.
"He's still our secret weapon on the sidelines," hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said. "It's great to have a combination [Trout and Bourjos] to give the veterans a rest, and having a guy you know is going to bring something to the team ... I think all of our young kids have brought something."
Referring to their speed, Hatcher said: "Sometimes you don't even care if they hit it hard. They still might get a double."
"There's no doubt we have more speed on our club than we've had in the last 12 years," Scioscia said. "But we haven't had the on-base percentage to where we take advantage of it."
Meantime, Trout waits.
Likes: Ivan Nova, the Yankees' rookie starter. Good stuff, good kid. ... Atlanta's bullpen is unbelievable. It will be fascinating to see if Jonny Venters, Craig Kimbrel and Eric O'Flaherty have enough gas in the tank to go all the way through October like this. ... Michigan-Notre Dame on Saturday with my wife ready to make pizza for kickoff. ... Still little better in life than a good ballgame at home with pizza. ... Speaking of which, the trendy Pizzeria Mozza (celebrity chefs Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich) just opened in Newport Beach, Calif., and is highly recommended by Scioscia.
Dislikes: What a blackout in the west on Thursday night. The entire city of San Diego lost power, as did parts of Orange County, Arizona and northern Mexico. They blamed it on one guy doing maintenance at an important switching station in Arizona. I don't know much about electricity, but how can there be no checks and balances in place? One guy can wipe out power for five million people? Mama mia. ... Aw, Grosse Ile 20, Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High 14 in Friday night football. The good guys lost.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Spirits above and behind me
"Faces gone, black eyes burnin' bright
"May their precious blood forever bind me
"Lord as I stand before your fiery light
"Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li
"I see you Mary in the garden
"In the garden of a thousand sighs
"There's holy pictures of our children
"Dancin' in a sky filled with light
"May I feel your arms around me
"May I feel your blood mix with mine
"A dream of life comes to me
"Like a catfish dancin' on the end of the line"
-- Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
Posted on: August 21, 2011 7:36 pm
Late August, and if you're looking for stretch-run drama, well, you'd better go find a good book. May I recommend David Halberstam's Summer of '49? Great book chronicling an epic Red Sox-Yankees pennant race. Sigh.
There's still time for things to change, of course, but as we sit here today (unless, of course, you're standing), there is less than a four-game difference in only one of eight potential playoff races. (I'm dismissing the half-game separating the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East because both clubs have all but formally qualified for October: The Red Sox own a 7 1/2-game margin over Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card chase).
No, after Detroit's beat-down of Cleveland, the only real drama heading into this week is in the NL West, where the Giants have pulled back to within 1 1/2 games of Arizona. The Diamondbacks were and are a nice story, but not quite so much after getting swept in Atlanta.
Anyway, for all of this, I blame California.
The Not-So-Golden State right now is playing harball at a level ranging from head-shakingly bad to maddeningly sporadic and is in danger of being shut out of postseason baseball for the first time since 1999:
-- The World Series champion Giants, playing catch-up with Arizona, currently rank 29th in the majors in runs scored and seemingly have more players on the disabled list than on the active roster. Carlos Beltran, hello?
-- The Dodgers' back-to-back NLCS appearances in 2008-2009 currently are tied up in divorce/bankruptcy court.
-- The Padres' 90-win season of a year ago has turned to dust.
-- The only way the Athletics will see October is in Moneyball -- literally. The movie opens Sept. 23.
-- The Angels were nearly extinguished by Texas last week before rising from the ashes with a four-game winning streak that has moved them back to within four games of the Rangers.
Starting in 2000, the Angels have made the playoffs six times, the Athletics five, the Giants and Dodgers four each and the Padres twice.
Now? The Giants are clawing and the Angels have regained a faint pulse. Those two right now are a couple of the last hopes to goose a stretch-run that is threatening to boost football's television ratings even more.
Now, with colleague Danny Knobler hopefully somewhere with his feet up and an ice-cold lemonade nearby ... on to this week's 3 to Watch:
1. Time was, the Red Sox looked loaded and dangerous. Aw, truth be told, they still mostly look that way, but with Clay Buchholz out until mid-September, Daisuke Matsuzaka done for the season and Kevin Youkilis, J.D. Drew, David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury all hurting, they're vulnerable. The pitching situation in particular is why they acquired Erik Bedard at the July 31 deadline, and it is Bedard who takes the ball in the series opener of Red Sox at Rangers, Monday night (8:05 ET) at the Ballpark in Arlington. It's an intriguing four-game series for a few reasons, not the least of which is because, if the season ended today, these two teams would face each other in the first round of the AL playoffs. One thing to watch between now and then, though: The Rangers' schedule down the stretch is more difficult than the Angels, with seven games against the Red Sox, six against Tampa Bay and three against Cleveland (the Angels have two against the White Sox and three against the Yankees, but they also get Baltimore again).
2. Speaking of tough schedules, what Manny Acta's Cleveland Indians are facing is pure torture, and the Indians did not get off to a good start in Detroit over the weekend, where Cleveland was swept. Thanks to early rainouts, the Indians are in the midst of playing 45 games in 44 days. They've got two home doubleheaders -- White Sox and Twins -- the final full week of the season. Before that, though, Seattle pulls into town on Monday, and Cleveland dives into its double-dips with Mariners at Indians, Tuesday afternoon and evening (1:05 and 7:05 ET) at Progressive Field. It doesn't get any easier with rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis (hamstring) on the disabled list and with slugger Travis Hafner nursing a right foot strain (he left Sunday's game in Detroit and the Indians will know more Monday).
3. Two teams struggling mightily to tighten a couple of AL races hook up for a quick two-game series, and by the time Chicago rookie Zach Stewart is finished facing Los Angeles' Jered Weaver in the finale of White Sox at Angels, Wednesday night (10:05 ET) at Angel Stadium, we'll have a better idea of whether Ozzie Guillen's club is in or out in the AL Central, and whether the Angels are serious players in an AL West race that right now is Texas' to lose. The White Sox took two of three from the Rangers and are five games behind the Tigers in the AL Central. Thanks to the Sox, the Angels were able to gain a couple of games back on Texas to pull to within four in the AL West. Considering that Texas pushed the Angels to six back last week and was one out away from seizing an eight-game lead on the Angels last Thursday night, Mike Scioscia's club is living large.
Tags: Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Indians, David Halberstam, David Ortiz, Erik Bedard, J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Kipnis, Jered Weaver, Kevin Youkilis, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mike Scioscia, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Travis Hafner
Posted on: August 16, 2011 2:05 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 1:47 pm
The repercussions from the Angels' nightmare series-opener Monday against Texas will ripple into Tuesday and beyond.
Rookie starter Garrett Richards was lifted after only 19 pitches with a groin injury -- right adductor strain in the groin area, to be specific -- and is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.
Because of that and the fact that the Angels chewed through four relievers in an 8-4 loss to the Rangers while falling five games back in the AL West, you might say the roster situation right now is fluid.
"We'll definitely get some more pitching in here tomorrow," manager Mike Scioscia said late Monday night. "We'll toss a few things around, evaluate things in the morning and get some arms here."
The current favorite to replace Richards in the rotation -- short-term, at least -- is old favorite Joel Pineiro, who followed a serviceable weekend outing in Toronto with three scoreless innings Monday.
Scioscia singled out Monday's highlight as Pineiro's "sharp breaking ball."
There wasn't much else. When your starter blows out just 19 pitches in against a team as loaded as the Rangers, it's fasten-your-seat-belts time.
"Garrett tonight, his stuff looked great," Scioscia said. "It looked crisper than it did in New York. He had a tight slider.
"That's what's disappointing, not seeing that part of it play out."
In his major league debut last week in Yankee Stadium, Richards was clobbered for six hits and six earned runs (and two home runs) in only five innings.
Despite his "tight slider", Richards was on the ropes against the Rangers when he went down. Ian Kinsler drilled a double to lead off the game, moved to third on catcher Bobby Wilson's throwing error and then scored on a ground ball. Michael Young reached base on a two-out single, and then Richards was injured while delivering a 1 and 1 fastball to Nelson Cruz.
"I definitely felt comfortable tonight," Richards said. "I had my good stuff. It's unfortunate and disappointing to have an injury."
Richards said he felt something in his groin on the previous pitch, another fastball to Cruz.
"I told myself I'd give it one more pitch," he said.
He did, and it was his final pitch.
The Angels now have lost five of their past six games, falling from 1 1/2 games behind Texas to five back in the past six days. Tuesday, they'll hand the ball to another rookie starter, Tyler Chatwood, as they attempt to keep Texas from running away with the division.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 7:33 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 8:16 pm
PHOENIX -- Talked to both All-Star pitching coaches during batting practice, Mike Maddux of the Rangers and Dave Righetti of the Giants, and here's the tentative pitching plans for tonight's All-Star Game:
AL starter Jered Weaver is only expected to go one inning. Angels manager Mike Scioscia talked to Rangers and AL skipper Ron Washington and requested Weaver go no more than one inning or 25 pitches because he's due to start Saturday during the Angels' doubleheader in Oakland.
Boston's Josh Beckett is expected to follow Weaver to the mound, according to Maddux. After that, look for either Michael Pineda of the Mariners or Texas' C.J. Wilson. The way things were set up going into the game, Washington and Maddux were planning to use Pineda as the third pitcher in.
After that it's less planned, though Angels rookie closer Jordan Walden has been told there is a good chance he'll pitch in the fifth inning. While that's not guaranteed, Maddux said he did speak with some of the closers because, obviously, not everybody can pitch the ninth.
"Guys used to pitching the ninth inning, we gave everybody a heads up because if we need them early, normally, they wouldn't have even gone to the training table yet," Maddux quipped.
As for overall pitching plans, Maddux had another good line: "The only sure thing is, if Weaver carries a no-hitter into the second inning, he's not gonna get it."
As for the NL, starter Roy Halladay likely will pitch two innings unless he goes through a long first inning. Phillies teammate Cliff Lee will follow him to the mound. Then, Righetti said, it will be either the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw or Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens -- probably Kershaw.