So the Angels played some Cactus League games this week down in the surrounding areas of Phoenix, Arizona. If you were to take any stock at all in the results of these games, you’d probably be panicking right about now. Of course, if you are panicking perhaps you should go watch the Ducks or the Lakers until April. Seriously, this is too hard on you.
After dropping all three games to open up the Cactus schedule last week, the Angels proceeded to post two more losses and two more ties in the first four games of the week, dropping their record to 0-5-2. Finally, last night, they were able to scrounge a win over the Dodgers in convincing fashion 16-8.
On Monday, the Angels lost to division-rival Seattle 9-8 but got a nice performance out of catcher Hank Conger who went 3-for-3 with a double and a home run off of Jeremy Bonderman—yes, that Jeremy Bonderman. Starting pitcher Garrett Richards—who could be the first call-up this season when injury strikes—threw two innings giving up an unearned run while posting one strike out.
On Tuesday, the Angels tied the Diamondbacks. Veteran Bill Hall—who’s vying for a utility spot on the roster—continues to have a solid spring. Against the D’Backs, he went 2-for-4 with two doubles and four driven in.
On Wednesday, the Angels tied their opponent again, this time it was the Giants. Top prospect Kaleb Cowart went 2-for-4 with a double while top pitching prospect Nick Maronde struggled again giving up three hits and two runs in an inning-and-a-third.
On Thursday, the Angels lost 10-8 to the Dodgers, but got a good hitting performance from Howie Kendrick who went 3-for-3 with a double and a home run. Starting pitcher Jerome Williams gave up five runs in two innings of work including a home run to Dodgers’ third baseman Luis Cruz in the first. Chad Cordero continued his comeback attempt by giving up two hits and a run in his inning of work, but he did strike out two.
Finally on Friday, the Angels won a game downing the Dodgers 16-8. Josh Hamilton hit his first home run of the spring connecting off of Dodgers’ highly-touted Korean import Hyun-Jin Ryu. Both Peter Bourjos and Matt Young—who’s doing his best to make the team as a utility infielder—had three-run triples. Jered Weaver threw two innings in his spring debut, giving up two hits, one run while striking out two.
In other news from the week, the Angels outrighted bullpen candidate Bobby Cassevah off the 40-man roster and rather than report back to AAA once the season starts, he’ll try his hand on the free agent market.
Cassevah appeared in four games for the Angels last season giving up four runs in five innings of work. In his Major League career, entirely with the Angels, the 27-year-old has a 3.20 ERA in 64 2/3 innings while walking nearly as many as he has struck out.
From MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez on the injury front, Albert Pujols is adamant that he’ll be ready to go come Opening Day, while injured relievers Sean Burnett and Ryan Madson are both making progress. Burnett is expected to be ready for opening day, while there’s still no timetable for Madson who has yet to throw off a mound.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark talked with former Angel Torii Hunter about his comments regarding Angels’ owner Arte Moreno and the Angels desire to bring back the veteran outfielder who eventually signed with the Tigers. Hunter claims that what he said in regards to being upset about the team signing Hamilton despite crying poor when it came to his own return were a “joke that went bad.”
Hunter has made serious headlines this offseason with various comments including some blatantly homophobic remarks regarding gay players in the clubhouse. I used to like Hunter quite a bit—now let’s just say I’m glad I don’t have to cover a team that he plays for.
Finally, both Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register and Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com wrote stories regarding the contract status of Mike Trout. Castrovince talked to one rival executive who said that if he were running the Angels, he would be talking to him “about a crazy-long deal.” Fletcher, meanwhile opines that Trout has some serious leverage in contract negotiations and could be in for a record pay day.
Today, the Angels take on the Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix at 12:05 pm PST and can be heard on KLAA.