Spring training notes: Angels’ pitchers need command

By By Jeff Fletcher

The Orange County Register (MCT)

Published: Thursday, March 6 2014 9:01 a.m. MST

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Angels are high on the potential of the pitchers at the back end of their rotation, but they’re also realistic about their limitations.

That’s why Manager Mike Scioscia is considering carrying eight relievers, one more than the current standard around the majors.

Because Hector Santiago, Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs all have good stuff but are developing command, the Angels might find themselves in situations when the starter has to come out early because of his pitch count.

“At some point you’ll see these guys give us some length, but on a start-to-start basis they have to grind it out to get to a certain point in the game, and you’ll want to still be able to hold leads in those games,” Scioscia said.

Even veteran C.J. Wilson has been known to see his pitch count get away from him, chasing him from a game after five or six innings even though he might have allowed only one or two runs.

So the Angels want to have as many reliable short relievers as possible, and a seven-man bullpen might not allow them the room to also carry a long reliever who could soak up innings when they are behind.

Joe Blanton might end up being that eighth reliever.

If Blanton doesn’t end up as the fifth starter, the Angels might want to keep him around as the No. 6 starter and a long reliever, without eliminating one of the pitchers they would use to protect leads late in games.

Green at short

Grant Green apparently is opening some eyes with his defense.

On Wednesday, Scioscia started Green at shortstop for the first time since the Angels acquired him last July. He had played only second base in the majors or in games this spring, and second and third in the minors last year.

“He had an unbelievable workout with Alfredo (Griffin) last week from the left side,” Scioscia said.

Green, a product of Canyon High and USC, was drafted as a shortstop, but the A’s moved him in the minors. If he could play shortstop at the major league level, even as a backup, his chances of making the Angels’ opening day roster would improve.

Scioscia said Green has a chance to get into the competition with Andrew Romine and John McDonald to be the backup shortstop because of improvements he’s made, specifically with his throwing mechanics.

Green handled two grounders — one routine, and one a slow roller he had to charge — in six innings Wednesday.

“He’s comfortable there, but there are some adjustments,” Scioscia said. “In workouts he looks fine, and he looked OK today.”

Notes

Sean Burnett began progressing toward throwing off a mound by throwing off a slope that is the same height as the mound, but not as steep. He said he expects to be able to throw off a mound by Monday. Burnett is still hoping to be ready by opening day. …

The Angels reassigned pitchers Yeiper Castillo and Hunter Green and outfielder Zach Borenstein to minor league camp. Borenstein had just strained his left calf in a B game Tuesday, but he said he thinks he’ll be out only a week. …

Catcher Anderson De La Rosa, a non-roster invitee, still has not made it to camp because the political unrest in Venezuela has prevented him from getting his papers to leave the country. Scioscia said De La Rosa might not make it to the United States until the minor league season begins.

Giants 3, Angels 2

The game: The Angels offense, which has been sluggish for most of the first week of spring games, was quiet in a 3-2 loss to San Francisco at Scottsdale Stadium on Wednesday. The Angels had a chance to tie with runners at first and third and one out in the eighth, but didn’t score.

Pitching report: RHP Jered Weaver, making his second start, gave up two runs (one earned) in four innings. His velocity was clocked at 85-88 mph. ... RHP Kevin Jepsen pitched a scoreless inning, recording a strikeout with his new changeup. “It will be 100 percent locked in,” Jepsen said of the new pitch. “Right now I feel as confident throwing it for a strike as I do with my fastball.”

Hitting report: 1B Albert Pujols snapped an 0-for-9 start with a single. ... CF Collin Cowgill and SS Grant Green each had his fourth double.

Defense report: Pujols, playing for a second consecutive day, made a diving stop of a ball to his right. ... LF Brennan Boesch misplayed a popup. ... RF Matt Long made a diving catch in foul territory. ... 2B John McDonald ranged to the foul line to catch a popup. ... 3B Luis Jimenez made a diving stop to his left.

Up next: Angels (C.J. Wilson) vs. Dodgers (Dan Haren), Tempe Diablo Stadium, today, noon.

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