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  1. Angels pitcher Jake Jewell throws to the plate during a spring training workout on Tuesday in Tempe, Ariz. The Angels are using the Edgertronic high-speed camera system to evaluate their pitchers. The cameras record pitchers in real time, with the ability to give highly detailed looks at the way they hold the ball, the way it comes off their fingers and the way it spins and moves toward the plate. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG) The Angels are using Rapsodo tracking devices, like the one seen here, to collect data on their pitchers during spring training workouts in Tempe, Ariz. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG) Sound The gallery will resume inseconds Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs throws in the bullpen as pitching coach Doug White, left, looks on during spring training on Tuesday at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG) Angels pitcher Williams Jerez throws in the bullpen on Tuesday at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. The Angels are using the Edgertronic high-speed camera system to evaluate their pitchers. The cameras record pitchers in real time, with the ability to give highly detailed looks at the way they hold the ball, the way it comes off their fingers and the way it spins and moves toward the plate. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG) Show Caption of Expand TEMPE, Ariz. — Tyler Skaggs unleashed the pitch and then turned to pitching coach Doug White. “Dougie,” he said. “What was the spin on that curve?” Welcome to Major League Baseball, circa 2019. The Angels, like almost all big league teams, have taken their workouts to a new level technologically this year, with the installation of several digital devices that assist in their evaluations, specifically with pitchers. “It’s cool,” Skaggs said. “It’s definitely a lot of new information that we haven’t had in the past. I think a lot of teams are going in that direction. I think it’s great. Instead of going off the eye test on every pitch, you can get the actual numbers.” The two main devices the Angels have added to the pitching mix this year are Edgertronic high-speed cameras and Rapsodo tracking devices. The cameras are set up on tripods right behind the pitcher. The Angels also have an overhead camera attached to an awning above one of the bullpen mounds on their practice field. They record pitchers in real time, with the ability to give highly detailed looks at the way they hold the ball, the way it comes off their fingers and the way it spins and moves toward the plate. The Rapsodo trackers essentially replicate what the Trackman systems do in ballparks, but on a portable scale. They measure velocity, spin and break. The trackers sit on the ground between the plate and the mound, rising no more than about six inches off the grass. “I love it,” Andrew Heaney said. “I’m excited. Any time you can have a new tool to help give you real solid data, I don’t think there’s any reason we would turn that down.” Much of the data produced by these units was available previously, but not as easily accessible in real time. Now, a pitcher can throw a pitch and then turn to one of the assistants holding a laptop behind the mound to find out the exact parameters of the pitch he just threw. Or he can see the video of the way the ball came off his fingers. “Old school, a coach would stand back and say ‘That looked good, how did it feel?’ ” Heaney said. “Saying something looked good doesn’t make it any better or make it any less hittable. If you have a machine that can tell you the spin efficiency and the (revolutions per minute) and depth on a breaking ball when you hold it with two fingers, now you actually have data that tells you what makes it a better breaking ball.” The new tools allow pitchers to also see the axis of their spin on their pitches, which can make a difference. Two pitches with the exact same spin rate can react differently depending on the angle of the spin, and the angle of the spin in relation to the seams. “I’ve been here for three weeks and I’ve only scratched the surface,” Heaney sad. “I’ve barely gotten to the smallest level of what we are able to do with the equipment and technology now.” Translating the technology into information that pitchers can implement is going to be where teams can find a competitive advantage because almost all of the teams now use the technology. The Angels are one of 28 teams now using the Rapsodo devices, according to the company. They are also used by many top college baseball programs. Related Articles Inside the Dodgers: A closer look at a key detail of Manny Machado’s move to San Diego Angels’ Justin Upton aims to be ready for Opening Day, not early spring training games Angels owner Arte Moreno addresses team’s payroll, stadium and GM Billy Eppler Mike Trout sidesteps questions about his future as he opens spring training with the Angels Angels’ Shohei Ohtani says rehab going smoothly so far “What it does is give you instant feedback on what you’re trying to correct,” Manager Brad Ausmus said. “If you’re a pitcher, it tracks your hand. You feel what you threw or how it felt when you threw, and you can look at the Edgertronic and see what it looks like. Is that what you want? Not quite. Do it again. Basically, eventually you get to the point where you feel it and look at it, and that’s right. Now you try to repeat that. It’s instant feedback. That’s what a lot of the guys like.” Because the devices are so portable, the Angels will continue to use them for bullpen sessions during the season, at home and on the road. Exactly how they use it will continue to evolve, though. “We need to throw more bullpens so we can kind of get a feel for what kind of numbers work for you and what doesn’t,” Skaggs said. “I think we’re in that process of deciding what to use and what not to use. We’re going to use everything and kind of narrow it down to what you feel is necessary.” View the full article
  2. TEMPE, Ariz. — Justin Upton is in no hurry to get on the field in spring training, as he lets tendinitis in his knee calm down. Upton said he suffered the injury running in the offseason, and now he plans to “take it slow.” He said he isn’t expecting to be playing spring training games in the early part of the Cactus League schedule, but he doesn’t anticipate any problem being ready for opening day. “It won’t be a problem,” Upton said on Tuesday. “You’ll see me before we get to California. I’ll definitely be in some spring training games and I’ll be ready to go.” Upton said he’s been hitting off a tee and throwing, while waiting for his knee to allow him full mobility. ALSO On Wednesday Matt Harvey is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session since going down with a strained glute on the first official days of workouts, last week. … Jo Adell, the Angels’ top prospect, hit in a group with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols on Tuesday. Related Articles Angels owner Arte Moreno addresses team’s payroll, stadium and GM Billy Eppler Mike Trout sidesteps questions about his future as he opens spring training with the Angels Angels’ Shohei Ohtani says rehab going smoothly so far Angels’ Albert Pujols looks for bounceback season after two more surgeries Ex-Angels teammates pick each others brains as college coaches View the full article
  3. TEMPE, Ariz. — The Angels have a formula for determining their payroll and it has nothing to do with the luxury tax, contrary to the popular narrative. Owner Arte Moreno said Monday that the Angels base their budget on their revenue. “Typically for us, we allocate about 50 percent of our revenue towards payroll, but I bust through that every year,” Moreno said. “A small-market team would go about the same. Sometimes the larger market teams would only use 40 percent. Every year is a little different with your needs.” The Angels currently have a payroll that’s roughly at $183 million, in terms of actual cash flow for 2019. That includes several incentives that are likely to be reached. It represents a slight increase from their payroll in 2018. General manager Billy Eppler said last month the Angels “stretched” the payroll to add Cody Allen. The luxury tax, however, is calculated using the average annual values of the contracts. Because the Angels have a few players whose actual salaries are much higher than their AAV’s, their payroll for purposes of the luxury tax is about $170 million, well below the $206 million threshold. Moreno said the Angels also want to save some money for additions during the season, “if we have an injury” or “if we are really in it at the All-Star break and are looking to see whether you’re going to trade.” Moreno also said he’s been pleased with the work of general manager Billy Eppler, whose contract runs through 2019, with an option for 2020. “Billy has done a good job,” Moreno said. “His people have done a great job.” Related Articles Mike Trout sidesteps questions about his future as he opens spring training with the Angels Angels’ Shohei Ohtani says rehab going smoothly so far Angels’ Albert Pujols looks for bounceback season after two more sugeries Ex-Angels teammates pick each others brains as college coaches Angels end a cold free-agent winter for Dan Jennings Moreno also addressed the situation with the city of Anaheim and Angel Stadium. The Angels’ lease runs only through 2020, and the team would like the city to make some upgrades to the ballpark before they commit beyond that. Moreno said the talks with new Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu have been “very positive, a lot of good communication.” In past years, Moreno had not spoken as optimistically about the team’s relationship with the city. UPTON OUT, HARVEY IN Outfielder Justin Upton begins spring training limited by tendinitis in his right knee, Manager Brad Ausmus said. “There’s no reason to rush him right now,” Ausmus said. “Don’t be shocked if he’s not playing right away.” Pitcher Matt Harvey, who suffered a strained glute during the first workout last week, has resumed throwing a few days ahead of schedule. Although Harvey isn’t ready to get back on the mound, he’s been “fully cleared,” Ausmus said. View the full article
  4. TEMPE, Ariz. >> As he begins what could be his penultimate spring training with the Angels, Mike Trout avoided the elephant in the room. Trout, whose contract expires after the 2020 season, would not directly answer questions on Monday about whether extension talks have begun or whether he wants to remain with the Angels beyond next season. “I don’t want to comment on that,” Trout said. “Like I said, I enjoy playing here. I’m having fun. Obviously, losing is not fun, but I enjoy playing this game. I leave it out on the field every night, every day and I go from there.” Owner Arte Moreno, who spoke to the media a few hours later while the team was conducting its first full-squad workout of the spring, also refused to say whether any negotiations have occurred. “I would probably say that we’ve been in (internal) discussions,” Moreno said. “One of the last interviews I gave I said it’s not in the back of our mind, it’s in the front of our mind. “I think it also depends on the agent and the player. So it’s not like it’s just us. We try to keep in communication with how the agent is feeling and how the player is feeling about where they are.” The general belief around the club and within the industry is that the Angels will be willing to do whatever it takes financially to keep Trout, 27. He has two years left on a six-year, $145-million contract. He’ll make $34 million each of the next two seasons. His next contract will certainly be a record-breaker. Earlier this winter a source said Trout camp was waiting to see the deals that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado signed before opening any sort of formal negotiations. They are still unsigned, a point that has upset many players, including Trout. “It’s obviously not good for baseball,” he said. “You’ve got two of the top guys not signed yet. Teams are saying they want to rebuild, but why not start with one of the top guys?… It’s disappointing for the players.” Money aside, Trout is certainly going to get paid by whatever team he chooses, so it will be a matter of where he wants to play. A native of New Jersey, Trout still spends his winters on the East Coast. He grew up cheering for the Philadelphia Phillies and still loves the Eagles. “I don’t think I went a day this offseason without someone asking ‘Hey, when are you coming to Philly?’” Trout said. “I can’t predict the future.” Trout has said repeatedly that the most important factor to him is winning. The Angels, as has been well chronicled, have made the postseason just once in Trout’s seven seasons, a three-game cameo in 2014. They are coming off three straight losing seasons, although they were just two games under .500 in each of the past two seasons. Trout isn’t tipping his hand as to what he wants to do in 2021 and beyond, but he said on Monday that he believes in the direction the team is headed for 2019 and the immediate future. General manager Billy Eppler didn’t make any splashy move over the winter, but he did retool the roster enough that there could be 10 or 11 new faces on the opening day roster. “Each year since Billy’s been here, he’s been bringing in guys that improve the team,” Trout said. “That’s all you can ask for. Obviously, we weren’t where we wanted to be the last few years, but it’s like a puzzle, trying to bring in guys that fit this team. We’ve brought a bunch of veteran guys in, and we’ll see where it goes. I come here, and I can only do what I can do. But bringing in new faces, it’s good.” Trout also said he thinks the injuries have been the team’s biggest problem in recent years. “I think we lost something like five starters last year or something crazy,” Trout said. “That doesn’t help. When we get knocked down, we just have got to try to get back up as quick as we can.” He added: “If we can figure out a way to stay healthy, we can make a push.” Trout has been injured each of the past two seasons, missing seven weeks with a torn thumb ligament in 2017 and a couple weeks with a right wrist injury in 2018. In 2017 he was hurt on a head-first slide, so he started wearing a protective glove when he’s on the bases. Trout said he does what he can to avoid injury, but he can’t play the game cautiously. Related Articles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani says rehab going smoothly so far Angels’ Albert Pujols looks for bounceback season after two more sugeries Ex-Angels teammates pick each others brains as college coaches Angels end a cold free-agent winter for Dan Jennings Angels pick up veteran lefty reliever Dan Jennings “If you play the game hard, you are going to dive, you are going to hurt yourself,” Trout said. “If you hold back and try to prevent it, that’s when you get hurt.” The Angels obviously want Trout on the field as much as possible, because he remains unquestionably the best player in the game. He’s not only put up historic numbers in his first seven seasons, winning two MVPs and finishing second four times, but he’s improved. Last year he specifically mentioned wanting to improve his defense. According to most defensive metrics, he made a dramatic improvement. He was a finalist for the Gold Glove, an award he’s never won. This year Trout did not have any specific areas for improvement in mind. “Just to be more consistent,” he said. “There is no one thing. Just try to get better at everything.” View the full article
  5. TEMPE, Ariz. >> Although Shohei Ohtani isn’t expected to be able to play until May, a guy can dream. “As a baseball player, I would like to make it on opening day,” Ohtani said through his interpreter on Sunday morning. “That’s the thought, but I’m not going to rush myself.” Ohtani, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, would obviously like to beat the projected timeline that has him returning sometime in May. Ohtani has been taking swings at about 75 percent effort so far, but he has not hit a ball yet. He said he’s hoping he can begin hitting off a tee within a week. “So far things are going as planned,” Ohtani said. “No problems at all. But maybe once I start throwing, maybe I’ll start having some issues. But as of now, everything has been going well.” Ohtani said he might begin throwing by the end of spring training. When Ohtani starts throwing, that will slow his rehab as a hitter, because the Angels don’t want to introduce multiple new elements to his rehab at the same time. View the full article
  6. TEMPE, Ariz. — As is his custom, Albert Pujols answers questions about his future by referring to his past. The day before the first full-squad workout of Pujols’ 19th season in the majors, he was asked if he feels the need to prove to anyone that he can again approach the lofty heights he reached earlier in his Hall of Fame career. “I don’t need to show anybody, man,” Pujols said on Sunday morning in the Angels clubhouse. “My job is to just try to be healthy and help this ballclub to win a championship. I don’t think I need to show anybody. I know what I can do when I’m healthy, and that’s what I try to do.” Pujols, 39, enters this season after a pair of surgeries, arthroscopic procedures on his left knee in August and his right elbow in September. Pujols has had a total of five surgeries since joining the Angels, including a knee procedure in October 2012, and foot surgeries in November 2015 and December 2016. He said he was happy the most recent ones occurred earlier in the calendar, allowing for a mostly normal offseason afterward. “I’m really excited with where I’m at right now,” Pujols said. How that manifests itself on the field remains to be seen. In 117 games last year, Pujols hit .245 with 19 homers and a .700 OPS. It was actually a slight improvement from his numbers (.241 and .672) the year before. Pujols also played 70 games at first base last year, making room for Shohei Ohtani at designated hitter. It was twice as many as he’d played in the previous two years combined. This season, the Angels are going to have Pujols start the season at DH, with Justin Bour at first, while they wait for Ohtani to return. Ohtani is expected by sometime in May. After that, if all three players are healthy, manager Brad Ausmus will have to juggle the playing time. Ausmus has said repeatedly that performance will dictate who plays. They’ll get an idea of Pujols’ health and performance level gradually, working him slowly through spring training. “The most important thing in spring training is making sure he’s healthy going into the season,” Ausmus said. “We certainly don’t want to overload him here and have an issue in April or May. That’s the game plan. It’s going to evolve as we go, but we’re going to be cautious out of the gate.” Pujols said he’s not worried about how much he plays in spring training, as long as he’s ready by opening day. He said he knows how to get ready, and has not made any significant adjustments to his routine. Related Articles Ex-Angels teammates pick each others brains as college coaches Angels end a cold free-agent winter for Dan Jennings Angels pick up veteran lefty reliever Dan Jennings Could the Angels still sign Mike Moustakas? Griffin Canning soaking up atmosphere of his first big league camp with Angels “You adjust here and there but I always say, ‘Why would you fix something that isn’t broken?’” he said. “It’s been successful for me for more than 20 years as a professional. So I think if you’re healthy you don’t need to change anything. For me, it’s been the same training. Maybe I adjusted the volume of the work, but it’s the same intensity and same routine since Day One.” As usual, Pujols said his focus is on winning a championship, and he believes the Angels actually have the pieces in place for that, if they can stay healthy. “I think with everyone in here now, this is my eighth year, and every year we have a really quality, championship ballclub,” Pujols said. “The thing is, the injuries that you get during the season and there’s guys that you’re depending on. When you lose last year half of your starting pitchers for the rest of the year, it’s really tough. It’s hard to compete like that. God willing, if we stay healthy I think we have a really good team right here to get back in that position that we want.” View the full article
  7. UC Riverside head coach Troy Percival and Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad meet at home plate before the start of their non-conference game at University of California Riverside in Riverside, Ca., February 16, 2019. (John Valenzuela/ Contributing Photographer) UC Riverside head coach Troy Percival talks with pitcher Riley Ohl, (#51), during Saturday’s non-conference game against Nebraska at University of California Riverside in Riverside, Ca., February 16, 2019. (John Valenzuela/ Contributing Photographer) Sound The gallery will resume inseconds Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad, watches from the dugout during Saturday’s non-conference game against UC Riverside at University of California Riverside in Riverside, Ca., February 16, 2019. (John Valenzuela/ Contributing Photographer) UC Riverside’s Riley Ohl, (#51), delivers a pitch in the first inning to Nebraska’s Spencer Schwellenbach, (#1), during Saturday’s non-conference game at University of California Riverside in Riverside, Ca., February 16, 2019. (John Valenzuela/ Contributing Photographer) UC Riverside’s Damien Sanchez,(#1), misses the ball as Nebraska’s Spencer Schwellenbach, (#1), slides into second base safely during Saturday’s non-conference game at University of California Riverside in Riverside, Ca., February 16, 2019. (John Valenzuela/ Contributing Photographer) Nebraska’s Angelo Altavilla, (#7), turns a double play as UC Riverside’s Alec Arnone, (#7), during Saturday’s non-conference game at University of California Riverside in Riverside, Ca., February 16, 2019. (John Valenzuela/ Contributing Photographer) UC Riverside’s Nick Kafer,(#18), reaches for a fly ball against Nebraska during Saturday’s non-conference game at University of California Riverside in Riverside, Ca., February 16, 2019. (John Valenzuela/ Contributing Photographer) UC Riverside’s Cole Pofek, (#23), rounds second base as Nebraska’s, Cam Chick,(#29), mishandles a ground ball during Saturdays non-conference game at University of California Riverside in Riverside, Ca., February 16, 2019. (John Valenzuela/ Contributing Photographer) UC Riverside’s Cole Pofek, (#23), slides home safely in the first inning against Nebraska during Saturday’s non-conference game at University of California Riverside in Riverside, Ca., February 16, 2019. (John Valenzuela/ Contributing Photographer) UC Riverside’s Travis Bohall,(#30), slides safely into home during Saturday’s non-conference game against Nebraska at University of California Riverside in Riverside, Ca., February 16, 2019. (John Valenzuela/ Contributing Photographer) Nebraska’s Spencer Schwellenbach, (#1), catches UC Riverside’s Dylan Orick,(#35), during Saturday’s non-conference game at University of California Riverside in Riverside, Ca., February 16, 2019. (John Valenzuela/ Contributing Photographer) UC Riverside’s Dean Miller, (#20), bats against Nebraska during Saturday’s non-conference game at University of California Riverside in Riverside, Ca., February 16, 2019. (John Valenzuela/ Contributing Photographer) Show Caption of Expand RIVERSIDE – The dozens of card games, hundreds of lunches and road trips all over the continent, the thousands of hours of conversations on every element of the game of baseball when they were Los Angeles Angels teammates and this is what Troy Percival remembers the most about Darin Erstad. And no, it wasn’t the obvious connection you’d think. It wasn’t Erstad putting away Kenny Lofton’s fly ball – one induced by Percival on the mound – for the final out of the 2002 World Series. “I remember I came into a game to get a courtesy inning,” Percival said. “He had just come off a concussion and made a diving play that gave him another concussion. So I go to the hospital to see him and ask him, ‘What are you doing? That game was over.’ He goes, ‘No. The ball is never falling.’ “I’ve never forgotten that. Especially when you’re on the mound, the ball is never falling. That’s just who he is. It’s fun to watch what he turns his teams into. They follow a good leader.” Erstad’s Nebraska Cornhuskers followed their leader into Riverside this weekend for a four-game series with Percival’s UC Riverside Highlanders. It’s the third season in a row the two former Angels teammates have started their collegiate seasons playing each other by coaching their respective alma maters, but the first time they’ve brought the series to the Riverside Sports Complex, where Percival’s retired No. 40 features prominent on the center-field wall. The previous two seasons, the teams met at the Angels’ spring-training complex in Mesa, Ariz., splitting four games.Related Articles Bennie Boatwright sets USC men’s basketball record for 3s in win over Cal Sharma’s double-double helps Stanford beat UCLA men’s basketball Cal State Fullerton’s defense stymies CSUN in Big West Conference win Short-handed Long Beach can’t hold off UC Davis down the stretch Kyla Ross, Katelyn Ohashi’s perfect 10s lead UCLA gymnastics to season high Nebraska captured Friday night’s game, 21-6. The teams split Saturday’s doubleheader, with UCR winning the opener, 10-9, behind three hits from freshman Alec Arnone and two hits and two RBI from freshman Damian Sanchez, and Nebraska taking the nightcap, 10-6. Putting aside the ebb and flow of a long college baseball season, nothing has ebbed in the flow of the relationship between Percival and Erstad that began when Erstad joined the Angels in 1996 and lasted through and beyond the ends of their professional careers in 2009. The two built a friendship that surprised no one who knows them and their intense, focused personalities, having regular lunches, working out together and asking questions of each other about their respective disciplines. “I respect him probably more than anyone in the world,” Erstad said. “We’re on the phone a lot anyway. Both of us being head coaches, you deal with issues with teams and you’re trying to learn from everyone and what different people are going through. He’s obviously got a huge pitching background, so I’ve always picked his mind about it.” Percival hasn’t been shy about doing the same, especially since seeing what Erstad has turned the Cornhuskers into since taking the job at his alma mater in 2012. The former Angels center fielder entered his eighth season winning 58 percent of his games, along with a Big Ten title and three trips to the NCAA Regionals. “As soon as I got the job here, I called him and started getting advice, because this is not an easy job to do if you were never an assistant,” Percival said. “I picked his brain pretty much four, five times a week. I was calling him asking questions like ‘How do you start the program? How do you get your influence into the team?’ Just everything top to bottom and he was always there to answer the call.” Erstad answered the call during the offseason, when Percival called to inquire about – naturally – getting hitting philosophy from a player who, in 2000, hit .355 with 240 hits. Erstad told his former teammate about a book called “High Scoring Baseball” that Percival and his coaches devoured and incorporated this season in an effort to go next-level offensively. That book stresses situational hitting, execution and putting the ball in play. In otherwords, Erstad and Percival have come full circle when it comes to making the ball fall. View the full article
  8. TEMPE, Ariz. — While major league pitchers were reporting to spring training camps across Arizona and Florida, Dan Jennings was at home in snowy Iowa throwing to high school players. It’s an understatement to say it was frustrating winter for Jennings, one of dozens of big leaguers who waited longer than expected to get a job. “It was a mentally exhausting process, for sure,” Jennings said Saturday, his first day in the Angels clubhouse after inking a minor-league deal. “Nobody wants to go through that. … As baseball players, you live this kind of life, you have to kind of roll with the unexpected a little bit. And it’s no different this year.” The Milwaukee Brewers non-tendered Jennings rather than pay him about $1.5 million through arbitration, so he was left to wait for a new team. After staring at his phone throughout the winter meetings, he was advised to wait until late January before getting his hopes up. Then came early February. And the opening of other camps. And there he was, his workouts supplemented by shoveling snow. “I can’t imagine it’s great for you, but it’s necessary,” Jennings said. “I think next year I’ll buy a snow blower.” Jennings said got more antsy as he saw social media posts from spring training begin to filter in. He contributed a video of his spring training, showing his toddler son how to swing a plastic bat. The delay in finding a job was especially frustrating for Jennings because he’d gone through the winter with extra motivation to get – here it comes – “in the best shape of my life.” “I had a good trainer there to push along in conditioning,” he said. “I definitely put more thought into it this year based on where I was than I have in any other offseason.” Jennings did his throwing indoors and pitched to some high school hitters. When the Angels finally called, he was ready to jump at the opportunity. Although general manager Billy Eppler has always insisted he doesn’t look specifically for left-handed or right-handed pitchers, it doesn’t hurt that Jennings gives the Angels an experienced lefty they were lacking. Jennings has held lefties to a .251 average and .665 OPS throughout his career, including .226 and .570 last year. From 2015 to 2017, he was with the Chicago White Sox, so Angels manager Brad Ausmus saw plenty of him when he was managing the Detroit Tigers. The Angels bullpen depth chart is now looking more crowded. Cody Allen will be the closer, and after that the list of candidates includes Hansel Robles, Ty Buttrey, Luis Garcia, Cam Bedrosian, Justin Anderson, Noé Ramírez, Daniel Hudson, Williams Jerez, Taylor Cole, Jake Jewell, Jennings and Luke Bard, who was signed to a minor league deal Saturday. Bard had been with the Angels as a Rule 5 pick at the start of last season. He gave up seven runs — on four homers — in 11 2/3 innings. The Angels sent him back to the Minnesota Twins. He became a free agent again this winter. “The options are good,” Ausmus said. “Certainly, Cody Allen has a track record, but we had some guys last year, especially toward the end of year, pitched well in Anaheim. Hansel Robles pitched outstanding down the stretch. Ty Buttrey came up and made a nice impression. We’ve got some really good arms that have a lot of upside.” Related Articles Angels pick up veteran lefty reliever Dan Jennings Could the Angels still sign Mike Moustakas? Griffin Canning soaking up atmosphere of his first big league camp with Angels Angels grooming Jared Walsh to be their next two-way player Matt Harvey goes down with Angels’ first injury of spring training ALSO JC Ramirez said he felt good a day after his sixth bullpen session since coming back from Tommy John surgery. Ramirez said he’s going to begin throwing breaking balls in his next session. Ramirez is expected back in June… Angels position players are due in camp by Sunday, although most of them have already been around working out at the minor league complex. The first official full-squad workout will be Monday… Shohei Ohtani went down to watch pitchers throw bullpen sessions for a second consecutive day. Ohtani is still just taking dry swings and working out in the gym and trainer’s room. View the full article
  9. By Geoff Stoddart, Director of Social Media Before there was Facebook. Before there was Twitter. Before there was SnapChat or Instagram, there was AngelsWin.com. In February of 2004, Charles Richter launched the website as a way for Angels fans around the country and around the world to stay connected to the team they loved and discuss topics that impacted them. What started out as a simple message board & blog grew into a news and reporting outlet, also being rewarded with a Major League Baseball media credential by the Angels. Correspondence from AngelsWin have participated in such team events and press conferences as the introduction for Albert Pujols, the contract extension for Mike Trout and the welcome Shohei Ohtani, to name just a few. Over the years, the site has been recognized by Forbes, Fox Sports, ESPN, MLB Network, Japan Times, Washington Post, MLB Trade Rumors, local media outlets in the Orange County Register and LA Times and Angels Broadcast crews over the air for their reporting and insights. The site has also hosted many fan events, including Spring and Summer Fanfests where they’ve had such guests as Arte Moreno, Tim Salmon, Don Baylor, Kole Calhoun, ex-GM Jerry Dipoto, Victor Rojas, Jose Mota, Terry Smith, Rex Hudler, Steve Physioc and Tim Mead. As AngelsWin looks to the future, they will continue to provide the news, the stats, information and fan events. But at its core, AngelsWin will always continue to be an online community forum that launched the site and as a result has forged many lifelong friendships & memories. AngelsWin.com: The internet home for Angels fans – where fans can cheer, argue, laugh, complain and discuss the team they love. So a toast to 15 great years and another toast to 15 more. Go Angels! View the full article
  10. By Geoff Stoddart, Director of Social Media Before there was Facebook. Before there was Twitter. Before there was SnapChat or Instagram, there was AngelsWin.com. In February of 2014, Charles Richter launched the website as a way for Angels fans around the country and around the world to stay connected to the team they loved and discuss topics that impacted them. What started out as a simple message board & blog grew into a news and reporting outlet, also being rewarded with a Major League Baseball media credential by the Angels. Correspondence from AngelsWin have participated in such team events and press conferences as the introduction for Albert Pujols, the contract extension for Mike Trout and the welcome Shohei Ohtani, to name just a few. Over the years, the site has been recognized by Forbes, Fox Sports, ESPN, MLB Network, Japan Times, Washington Post, MLB Trade Rumors, local media outlets in the Orange County Register and LA Times and Angels Broadcast crews over the air for their reporting and insights. The site has also hosted many fan events, including Spring and Summer Fanfests where they’ve had such guests as Arte Moreno, Tim Salmon, Don Baylor, Kole Calhoun, ex-GM Jerry Dipoto, Victor Rojas, Jose Mota, Terry Smith, Rex Hudler, Steve Physioc and Tim Mead. As AngelsWin looks to the future, they will continue to provide the news, the stats, information and fan events. But at its core, AngelsWin will always continue to be an online community forum that launched the site and as a result has forged many lifelong friendships & memories. AngelsWin.com: The internet home for Angels fans – where fans can cheer, argue, laugh, complain and discuss the team they love. So a toast to 15 great years and another toast to 15 more. Go Angels! View the full article
  11. TEMPE, Ariz. — The Angels added another experienced reliever to their bullpen mix by agreeing to terms with veteran lefty Dan Jennings on a minor-league deal Friday, according to a source. Jennings, 31, has a career 2.96 ERA over parts of seven big league seasons. He had a 3.22 ERA in 72 games with the Milwaukee Brewers last year. Left-handed hitters batted .226 with a .570 OPS against him last season. The Brewers non-tendered him rather than paying him a salary of about $1.5 million in arbitration. Jennings will make $1 million if he makes the Angels squad, with another potential $500,000 in performance bonuses. Related Articles Could the Angels still sign Mike Moustakas? Griffin Canning soaking up atmosphere of his first big league camp with Angels Angels grooming Jared Walsh to be their next two-way player Matt Harvey goes down with Angels’ first injury of spring training This was not baseball’s slowest offseason this decade. So what are we waiting for? Jennings joins a bullpen mix that was without an experienced lefty. The top relievers on the depth chart are all right-handed, with Williams Jerez as the most likely lefty to have a chance to pitch in the majors. View the full article
  12. TEMPE, Ariz. — The Angels may not be finished adding to their roster. The Angels have had some discussions about bringing in free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas, a source confirmed on Friday. It is unclear whether those talks are serious at this point. Moustakas, 30, has been connected to the Angels for the past two winters, because he’s a Southern California native and because the Angels could fit him into their lineup. If the Angels got Moustakas, they would likely move Zack Cozart to second and have Tommy La Stella as their utility infielder, with David Fletcher, Taylor Ward and Luis Rengifo all in Triple-A. General manager Billy Eppler said the Angels had to “stretch” their budget to land Cody Allen last month, so they’d need to stretch it further to land Moustakas. Last winter the Angels briefly engaged with Moustakas but couldn’t agree on a deal, so they moved on and signed free agent Cozart. Moustakas lingered on the market and finally signed a $6.5 million deal to return to the Kansas City Royals. He hit .251 with 28 homers and a .774 OPS with the Royals and Milwaukee Brewers, who acquired him in July. Related Articles Angels grooming Jared Walsh to be their next two-way player Matt Harvey goes down with Angels’ first injury of spring training This was not baseball’s slowest offseason this decade. So what are we waiting for? Matt Harvey looking to bounce back, and learn from his mistakes, with the Angels Angels’ Shohei Ohtani has no regrets about delaying Tommy John surgery last year View the full article
  13. TEMPE, Ariz. — Griffin Canning has seen the projections and knows his crack at the major leagues could be coming soon. “It’s hard not to think about it, but I try not to,” the Angels top pitching prospect said from his first major league spring training. “If I’m ready, I’m ready. If they think I’m ready, I’m ready. But I’m just going to keep my head down and keep doing what I do.” Canning is one of the jewels of the Angels improving farm system. After the Angels drafted him in the second round out of UCLA in 2017, Canning pitched just one season in the minors and rose all the way to Triple-A. Now, he’s in big league camp to get a taste of the big league atmosphere, even though he’s not really a candidate to break camp with the team. “It’s important for young guys to come to major league camp and indoctrinate them to the big league atmosphere so when they walk into whatever major league stadium, they are comfortable,” Manager Brad Ausmus said. “They know the people and the people know them. They are not wide-eyed. You are a little bit nervous and excited because it’s the big leagues, and that’s what your goal was, but there’s a comfort level because there are familiar faces.” Ausmus got to see Canning just once in the minor leagues last year, but not for lack of effort. He said he arrived at Class-A Inland Empire just after Canning went to Double-A, and he went to Double-A just after Canning went to Triple-A. Ausmus finally saw Canning pitch at Salt Lake, and he was impressed. “We really like the stuff,” Ausmus said. “We love the makeup. But he’s not a finished product. He’s a guy that we continue to develop. He’s climbed through the system fast, but he’s not a finished product. We want him to continue on that trajectory.” Canning, a 22-year-old product of Santa Margarita Catholic High, said last season was a learning experience. At the beginning of the season, he was throwing harder than usual, but his control suffered and he wasn’t efficient with his pitches. Although he was pitching effectively, he didn’t once get through six innings with his allotted pitch count. “Definitely I have to get my pitches per inning down,” Canning said. “Another thing I’m working on is two-strike pitches. Obviously these guys are a lot better hitters, so I need to be in the zone more.” Canning had a 3.65 ERA over 25 starts at the three levels, with 9.9 strikeouts and 3.5 walks per nine innings. Now that he’s sitting in a big league clubhouse a few feet from veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy, and working out with dozens of experienced pitchers, he’s hoping to continue polishing his game. “I’m going to pick these guys brains,” Canning said. “I’m excited to be around them for the spring.” Related Articles Angels grooming Jared Walsh to be their next two-way player Matt Harvey goes down with Angels’ first injury of spring training This was not baseball’s slowest offseason this decade. So what are we waiting for? Matt Harvey looking to bounce back, and learn from his mistakes, with the Angels Angels’ Shohei Ohtani has no regrets about delaying Tommy John surgery last year ALSO Michael Hermosillo said he’s been back to 100 percent for about a month after undergoing hernia surgery in October. Hermosillo had a groin issue in August and he aggravated it playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Hermosillo and Peter Bourjos are the top two candidates to win the fourth outfielder job. … JC Ramírez threw his sixth bullpen session since coming back from Tommy John surgery. Ramírez is expected to be able to pitch in the majors sometime in June. … Shohei Ohtani went down to the practice fields to watch some of the bullpen sessions during Friday’s workout. Ohtani’s workouts have been all indoors, either in the trainers room, the weight room or the batting cage. He’s been taking swings, without a ball. The next step will be hitting off a tee, but there’s no timetable for that to begin. View the full article
  14. TEMPE, Ariz. — A year ago, no one would have figured that Jared Walsh would be throwing a bullpen session in major-league camp as media members from both sides of the Pacific snapped pictures and shot video. A year ago, Walsh was just an outfielder and first baseman, a 39th-round draft pick getting little recognition as a prospect. Now, though, he’s following the footsteps of Shohei Ohtani, in camp trying to become the Angels’ second two-way player. After his first bullpen session of the spring, Walsh stood at his locker surrounded by a dozen reporters, from both sides of the Pacific. “I guess it’s pretty cool, but I have to prove myself a helluva lot more than one bullpen,” Walsh said with a smile. While the Angels will need to wait awhile to get Ohtani back at full strength after Tommy John surgery, they have Walsh. A former two-way player in college at the University of Georgia, Walsh had made occasional cameos on the mound in the minors. He showed enough potential as a left-handed pitcher that last fall the Angels sent him to instructional league to get formal pitching instruction. Now, he’s here in big league camp listed as a two-way player, working out with all of the other pitchers. “Right now I’m a pitcher,” Walsh said. “When the position players come in, I’m going to be a pitcher and a hitter. It’s really exciting. I’m really looking forward to the whole process. I think it’s going to be interesting.” Walsh, a 25, is different from Ohtani in a couple significant ways, besides the level of accomplishment. Ohtani is a starting pitcher and a designated hitter. Walsh is a position player who could also be used as a reliever. While Ohtani usually split his time, focusing on one or the other in a game, Walsh had been used a few times in the minors in both roles. He’d be playing in the field and then come straight to the mound. “Really Little League style,” he said. In the majors, that would be tougher to pull off because the Angels would lose their DH for the remainder of the game in that scenario. It would be easier to do in a National League park. For now, it’s just an experiment, one that is clearly influenced by Ohtani’s success. “I think as a result of Shohei’s ability to play both sides of the baseball, I think you are going to see two-way players a little more frequently, which takes the idea of versatility to the ultimate level,” manager Brad Ausmus said. Angels prospect Jared Walsh prepares to step to the plate as a member of the Inland Empire 66ers during a California League season opener against the San Jose Giants at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino, Calif. on April 5, 2018.<br />(TERRY PIERSON,THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG)Former Angels infielder Kaleb Cowart is now with the Detroit Tigers, who plan to try him as a two-way player. Matt Davidson signed with the Texas Rangers, also with that idea. Those two have already been in the majors as position players, while Walsh is trying to get there for the first time, in whatever role possible. “We feel like he’s got a chance to do both at the major league level, especially with the season he had offensively,” Ausmus said. Last season Walsh hit .277 with 29 homers, splitting his time between Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A. He also pitched in eight games, allowing one earned run in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out seven. And that was without any real instruction. In the fall, he got a crash course on mechanics and how to take care of his arm like a pitcher. Now, he’s in major league camp doing drills with all of the other pitchers. He said he plans to talk to Ohtani sometime, although he hasn’t yet. “I am just trying to learn,” he said. “I just want to be a baseball player. If they ask me to play the outfield, I’ll play the outfield. If they ask me to play first, I’ll do that. If they ask me to pitch, I’ll do that. It’s just fun. Kind of not knowing what you’re going to do every day when you show up to the park is really exciting. It doesn’t get monotonous. It’s going to be pretty cool.” Related Articles Matt Harvey goes down with Angels first injury of spring training This was not baseball’s slowest offseason this decade. So what are we waiting for? Matt Harvey looking to bounce back, and learn from his mistakes, with the Angels Angels’ Shohei Ohtani has no regrets about delaying Tommy John surgery last year Zack Cozart feeling good as he returns to Angels after injury-shortened season View the full article
  15. TEMPE, Ariz. — It didn’t take long for an Angels starting pitcher to go down with an injury, although the first indications are that this one isn’t serious. After the Angels announced on Wednesday that Matt Harvey has a strained left glute, which will sideline him for at least a week and a half, Harvey said he is “not at all” concerned that he might not be ready when the season starts. “If it was during the season, I’d probably just take some anti-inflammatories and keep playing,” Harvey said. “This early in the spring, we just want to get it completely out of the way.” Harvey said he felt something during agility drills on Tuesday, the first official workout for pitchers and catchers. After an examination and discussion with the medical staff, they decided to shut him down briefly. Harvey said he’s hoping he can still do some throwing even while his mobility is limited, so he won’t lose arm strength while waiting for the strain to heal. Manager Brad Ausmus said if Harvey only misses a week and a half, he should still be fine for the start of the season. Harvey also didn’t express much concern. “It’s nothing to be alarmed about,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate it’s this early with a new team and having to miss a little bit of time. It’s not ideal, but I’ll pick up right where I left off.” Although it appears to be a minor injury, it certainly brings back disturbing memories for the Angels and Harvey. The Angels have seen their past two seasons scuttled by a series of injuries to the starting rotation, and Harvey has been hurt several times during his career. ALSO Related Articles This was not baseball’s slowest offseason this decade. So what are we waiting for? Matt Harvey looking to bounce back, and learn from his mistakes, with the Angels Angels’ Shohei Ohtani has no regrets about delaying Tommy John surgery last year Zack Cozart feeling good as he returns to Angels after injury-shortened season Angels manager Brad Ausmus expects Shohei Ohtani to return in May Daniel Hudson, who signed a minor-league deal just before the start of spring training, said he is no longer having any trouble with the forearm injury that cost him the end of last season with the Dodgers. Hudson, who has had two Tommy John surgeries, said “everything feels great.”… Jake Jewell said he’s back to 100 percent after missing the second half of last season with an ankle injury that required surgery. Jewell was hurt covering home plate in his third big league game. … Ausmus is not ready to reveal his opening day starter. Asked if he had idea who it might be, he said: “If I did, I wouldn’t tell you.” View the full article