LA Angels Starters Seeing More Action in Spring Training.

Feb 27, 2017; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Cameron Maybin (9) against the San Diego Padres during a spring training game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2017; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Cameron Maybin (9) against the San Diego Padres during a spring training game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Angels  starting position players are getting more regular actions over the last couple of days and we are starting to see some of the different line-ups Angels manager Mike Scioscia may employ this season.

On Monday, LA Angels center fielder Mike Trout as well as Danny Espinosa, Yunel Escobar, Kole Calhoun, and Cameron Maybin saw their first action of the Spring against San Diego.  Yesterday Scioscia most of his starters in the line-up with the exception of Yunel Escobar and Andrelton Simmons.

Simmons has left the team to prepare for the World Baseball Classic which begins next week as he will play for the Netherlands.  Escobar went 0 for 8 with a run scored in three games this Spring.

"Escobar on the other hand had to leave the team to travel to Miami, Florida where he will take a U.S. Naturalization Test according to Maria Guardado who covers the Angels for  Guardado stated in her article that Escobar defected from Cuba back in 2004 as a 21-year old and it took three days to make it to Florida.  He lived with smugglers for eight months until he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves. (Courtesy of Maria Guardado,"

So far Scioscia has employed two different line-ups so far this Spring which includes the regulars. The first one looked a lot like the 2016 every day line-up with Yunel Escobar leading off, Kole Calhoun batting second and Mike Trout in his familiar third spot.

However, due to the injury to Albert Pujols, newly acquired corner infielder Luis Valbuena was in the clean-up spot and C.J. Cron was in his usual 5th slot followed by another newcomer Cameron Maybin in the 6th spot playing in left field.  New second baseman Danny Espinosa batted 7th and catcher Carlos Perez and Simmons rounded out the line-up.

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On Wednesday the Angels line-up looked a bit different without Escobar and Simmons.  The top four in the line-up stayed the same except for Maybin hitting in the lead-off spot instead.  Scioscia then put Espinosa in the 5-hole followed by Jefry Marte in the 6th spot.  Martin Maldonado batted 7th as a DH and then catcher Carlos Perez was again in the 8th position with Cliff Pennington batting ninth, filling in for Simmons.

These two line-ups will both probably be used during the season with Escobar possibly being switched between lead-off and the 6th slot.  That has been one of many debates going into Spring Training.  Scioscia has a of options and I’m sure against lefties he will most likely employ a line-up dominated by lefties.

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As for the pitching, the Angels used both of the main candidates for the 5th starter spot Jesse Chavez and Alex Meyer in Wednesday’s game against the Texas Rangers.  Both Chavez and Meyer pitched two scoreless innings in their first game action this Spring.

Chavez only allowed one hit and struck out three batters.  Meyer allowed no hits but walked two batters and struck out one batter in two innings of work. This has been an issue for Meyer so far in the majors.

On Thursday the Angels had Ricky Nolasco start and he pitched two innings of one run ball for the Angels with three strike outs.  Another dark horse candidate for a starting job is Yusmeiro Petit he had his second straight impressive outing pitching three scoreless innings giving up four hits and striking out one.

Over the next three days we will get a look at the Angels top three starters all who are trying to bounce back from various injuries.  First on Friday Matt Shoemaker will against the Milwaukee Brewers.  Shoemaker had a strong year after a poor start finishing with a 9-13 record and a 3.88 ERA.

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Shoemaker’s season was ended early as he was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Seattl e Kyle Seager in late August. He suffered a small skull fracture and had to have surgery to relieve the bleeding on his brain.  Shoemaker pitched batting practice already this Spring, but this will be the first time he pitches in a Spring game for the Angels.

On Saturday Tyler Skaggs will take the mound against the Chicago White Sox. Skaggs came back in late July from Tommy John surgery that kept him out for almost two years. Skaggs pitched in 10 games last season with a 3-4 record and a 4.17 ERA.

Like Shoemaker he had a late-season scare as he had soreness in his arm in early September causing him to miss five starts before pitching in the Angels second-to-last game of the season to test his arm out pitching 45 pitches over 1.2 innings.  Skaggs will be a key part to the Angels rotation if he can remain healthy all season. He is the only lefty in the rotation right now.

Finally on Sunday we will get the long awaited return of staff ace Garrett Richards to the mound.  Richards went down on May 1st last season due to a UCL tear in his right elbow.  Richards opted for stem-cell injections in his elbow instead of surgery and everything has gone during his rehab so far.  Sunday’s start will be his first against Major League hitters since his injury.

Next: Angels on a roll in Spring

Needless to say, the next three days will be very important to the Angels hopes in 2017.  Stay tuned to Halo Hangout for all your Spring Training news.