LA Angels News

LA Angels Spring Training News and Notes 2/17: Pujols Ready for First Base, Ohtani Looking to Come Back Ahead of Schedule

By Vincent Page
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 27: Shohei Ohtani #17 is congratulated by Albert Pujols #5 and Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim after hitting a three-run homerun during the fourth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Angel Stadium on August 27, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 27: Shohei Ohtani #17 is congratulated by Albert Pujols #5 and Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim after hitting a three-run homerun during the fourth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Angel Stadium on August 27, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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The LA Angels, for the first time in 2019, are together as the entire team has now reported for Spring Training. With position players rolling in Sunday, and the first full squad workout tomorrow, there was a lot of news flowing out of Angels camp.

LA Angels New Technology Receiving Great Reviews

One of the newest members of the Angels this season isn’t a player, but new technology at the club’s training camp in Tempe. Rapsodo and Edgertronic technology has been installed in the team’s bullpens, and they are big hits so far.

Tyler Skaggs, who is looking to serve as the Angels ace in 2019, told reporters “I’ve learned more in the past month than I have in the past four or five years” in regards to the advanced technology. New pitching coach Doug White utilized this technology during his time in Houston from 2014-2018, and well, they did pretty well for themselves.

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Do Not Call Albert Pujols Broken

During his first press conference of Spring Training, Albert Pujols asked reporters “You adjust here and there but I always say, ‘Why would you fix something that isn’t broken?’” in regards to his recent bouts with injuries. As he has gotten older, The Machine has needed maintenance checks pretty routinely.

After rehabbing from two separate surgeries this offseason, Pujols told reporters he is very happy with where he is at in terms of his health and abilities. After asking him to play first base to make room for Shohei Ohtani in 2018, Pujols will start this season as the team’s designated hitter. However, once Ohtani comes back, Pujols and new Halo Justin Bour will likely split time at first.

Most importantly though, Pujols should not come close to the 70 games he played in the field last season, especially if Ohtani is out until May like the Angels expect. However…

Shohei on Opening Day? Don’t Say No Way

While the Angels do not expect Ohtani to be able to play in games until May, the star slugger told reporters on Sunday that he has other plans. While he added on that he will happily cooperate with the Angels timeline to keep his long-term health in good shape, Ohtani is ahead of schedule with his recovery.

He has been taking dry swings, though not with 100% effort. Brad Ausmus said there is a possibility that Ohtani begins hitting off of a tee as early as next week, but said his progression is in the hands of the team’s medical staff.

Ohtani also told Maria Torres of the LA Times that he has been observing his teammates’ bullpen sessions to help his timing once he is allowed to face live pitching. He also told Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register that he hopes to be throwing by the end of Spring Training, which would slow his progression as a hitter.

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More News and Notes from Day Six

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