The Los Angeles Angels had a busy day Saturday. Before their second to last exhibition game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Angels announced most of their final roster moves which included sending Jefry Marte, Rey Navarro, and Rafael Ortega to Triple-A Salt Lake City. They also put outfielder Todd Cunningham through waivers which he cleared and the Angels sent him to Triple-A Salt Lake City as well. With all these moves it meant the final spot for hitters went to first baseman Ji-Man Choi.
Choi, who was a Rule 5 draftee meaning he has to be on the major league roster all season or the Angels must offer him back to the Orioles. Choi hit .212 this Spring with two home runs and 11 RBI’s, but has shown versatility being able to play left field, third base as well as first base, which is why Angels manager Mike Scioscia made the decision to keep Choi over the rest of the potential reserves.
The Angels then took the field against the Los Angeles Dodgers for the final game of the Freeway Series and proceeded to destroy the Dodgers 8-1 gaining a three-game sweep. Now I know that this only Spring Training, but it still is a good sign to see the Halos take it to their neighbors from the North.
In the game the Angels got stellar pitching, first Nick Tropeano who earlier this week was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake City. Tropeano turned in one of his best outings of the Spring giving up only one run in four innings of work on five hits, he also struck out two batters and got the win. Greg Mahle followed with a perfect 5th inning to lower his Spring ERA to 1.46. Then Tyler Skaggs took the mound continuing his comeback from Tommy John surgery and was spectacular giving up only one hit in three innings and no runs while striking out four batters. Fernando Salas closed the game and the sweep out with a scoreless 9th to ice the 8-1 victory.
The Angels started the scoring in the bottom of the third as C.J.Cron doubled home Mike Trout on a ball that came close to going out of the park as it hit at the base of the centerfield wall. After the Dodgers tied the game at one in the 4th, the Angels scored three more times on a bases clearing double by Mike Trout that plated Cliff Pennington, Yunel Escobar , and speedy Craig Gentry to make the score 4-1.
It stayed that way until the 7th inning when Albert Pujols hit his 6th home run of the Spring down into the left field corner over the short fence making the score 7-1. Choi rewarded Scioscia’s faith in the bottom of the 8th as he hit his second home run of the Spring, a tape-measure shot deep into the field stands to put a cherry on the top of the Angels victory.
For the game Trout went 2 for 2 with three RBI’s most likely finishing the Spring season with a .412 batting average with four home runs and 18 RBI’s and an OBP of .492 and a OPS of 1.276. Pujols finished with a 2 for 4 night and ended the Spring with a .278 average with 6 HR’s an 15 RBI’s. Catcher Jett Bandy who will most likely play on Sunday, raised his Spring average to .464 with a 2 for 2 performance. Bandy was impressive, but the Angels decided to go with experience over youth naming veteran Geovany Soto as their back-up catcher. Starting catcher Carlos Perez also went two for two finishing his Spring with a .372 average.
Utility man Cliff Pennington went 1 for 2 with two runs scored to raise his average to .393 this Spring and Andrelton Simmons continued to look good at the plate going 2 for three finishing the Spring with a .372 average to go along with sparkling glove. All in all it was a total domination again by the Angels as the Dodgers looked like a minor league team even though they played almost all of their starters.
After the game the Angels made one final roster move sending Greg Mahle down to Salt Lake City meaning that Cam Bedrosian, who has been lights out since his first two Spring outings, racking up 17 strike outs in 11 innings with a 4.09 ERA. Mahle had been a dark-horse candidate to make the team as showed the ability to get tough lefties out as well as a lot of righties too. So below you will find a list of the 25 man roster you will see introduced on Monday for the first game against the Cubs.
All I can say in closing is that I hope the play we have seen this Spring will continue into the regular season. Good luck and Go Halos!!!
Joe Smith Fernando Salas
Jose Alvarez Cory Rasmus
Mike Morin Huston Street