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Tuesday Halolinks: Many Positives in Angels' First Game, Pujols Still Good

For the first time in years, Angel players pay attention when #5 is at the plate.
For the first time in years, Angel players pay attention when #5 is at the plate.

Yes, they're officially here...GAMES!

  • Here are a few things to take away from the Angels' first spring training game: Angels beat Athletics, 9-1 - "Leadoff batter Erick Aybar (single, two walks) and No. 2 hitter Howie Kendrick (single, two-run homer, walk) reached base in their first three plate appearances, setting the table superbly for Albert Pujols." I'm not too sure if Kendrick will spend much time this season hitting out of the #2 spot, but after one game, it doesn't look like a bad idea.

    That new guy pretty much did what was expected of him: Angels 9, Athletics 1 - FOX Sports. "Wilson, who came to California from the Texas Rangers, said he used to play fantasy baseball when he was in the minors - and drafted Pujols at least once. ''It's kind of funny,'' Wilson said. ''He came up there and drive in the run and we all looked at each other in the dugout and said `Yep, that's Albert.' That's what he does. 'I'm happy to be in the Albert Pujols fan club.''
  • Often lost in the Pujols/Wilson news is one of the Halos' other additions: Angels’ Pujols, Wilson don’t waste time - The Orange County Register. "That was fun. Hopefully we get to do that a lot this year," Pujols said of the early offense which also featured a two-run home run by another new addition, catcher Chris Iannetta." Even former Mathis apologist Lyle Spencer had something to say about the new Angels' catcher: Spring Training: Albert Pujols makes his Angels, and promptly delivers his first Cactus League RBI - "Chris Iannetta, the new offensive upgrade behind the plate courtesy of Colorado, flexed his muscles with a two-run homer after lining out in his first at-bat. He'll give the bottom third of the order the pop it's been lacking." Lacking? And why was it lacking??


  • Even the professions think it's "kind of cool": $254 million man Pujols impresses - FOX Sports. "(Brad) Peacock, obtained in the Gio Gonzalez deal with Washington, said of facing a lineup of Angels' regulars in his A's debut, "If I'm going to be in the big leagues, I might as well get it out of the way on the first day." What about longtime Cardinals star Pujols in particular? "I thought it was great I got to see Albert Pujols; it was kind of cool," Peacock said. Peacock said he tried not to look at Pujols at all when he was in the batter's box, but he left a curveball up, he said, "and he crushed it."
  • Yeah I know, extremely small sample size, but it's nice to see something positive in regards to Vernon Wells' hitting: Hard-working Wells sees immediate results - "Against the Athletics on Monday, Wells was finally able to put that in game mode and already got some favorable results -- knocking in two runs and hitting two hard line drives in his first two plate appearances. Lining out was good to see, especially early on, just knowing if I get a good pitch to hit, put a good swing on it and don't really try to do too much." The line drives are really nice to see considering Wells had the worst line drive rate in the majors last season (Major League Leaderboards - FanGraphs Baseball) at 12.3%.
  • In my opinion, Morales' health is one of the most important pieces to the Angels' success this season: Angels’ Scioscia: ‘Important week’ in Morales comeback - The Orange County Register
    "That window hasn't changed," Scioscia said of getting Morales in game action some time late next week. "Once he repeats (running) the bases and comes out of it well ... he's ready for games at some level."
  • Rev has a post about the loss of in the Angels' family, and so does Chris Jaffe over at the Hardball Times: Don Mincher career highlights - The Hardball Times. Chris emailed me the link, "From his time with the Angels there are seven items, ranging from Mincher getting his only All-Star game hit, to him playing first base when Jack Hamilton hit Tony Conigliaro in the face with a fastballl, to Mincher swatting his first career walk-off home run." One of the items is also this, "May 22, 1967: It’s milestone time. Mincher goes deep against Kansas City’s Chuck Dobson for his 100th career home run. It’s a solo in the bottom of the second."
  • This is pretty funny:
  • Nailed! Lenny Dykstra Gets 3 Years in Calif. Prison - ABC News. "Disgraced ex-New York Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra on Monday was sentenced to three years in a California state prison after pleading no contest to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement."
  • Monstrosity is probably the correct word for this thing, with the "hideous" in front of it: Marlins home run display already drawing criticism - Yahoo! Sports. "Despite having yet to celebrate a Marlins homer, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that some left-handed batters are already badmouthing the animated monstrosity."
  • The new internet sensation...Tim Kurkijan impressions. And they're pretty funny: Watch Tim Kurkjian Watch J.P. Arencibia Do His Tim Kurkjian Impression - Deadspin. "The voice is dead on. Either the Blue Jays catcher is a master of impersonation, or he's squeezing his testicles between his knees."

    Red Sox Minor Leaguer Pete Ruiz Has His Own Tim Kurkjian Impression

    It's more understated than Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia's, we'll argue. Arencibia's is perhaps funnier—he brought Kurkjian's voice to a comically high pitch—but Ruiz's seems more precise. He's Darrell Hammond to Arencibia's Will Ferrell.

    Aw, Hell, Here's One More Tim Kurkjian Imitation From Rays Infielder Elliot Johnson

    With Linsanity dying out, we needed something new. Call it Kurkjianomie.
  • This is interesting: How Baseball May Have Made John Dillinger Public Enemy Number 1 - MLB Dirt. "While certainly not the sole reason, there is abundant evidence that suggests Dillinger’s connection to baseball may have contributed to his life of crime." Apparently Dillinger was quite the ball player.
  • Andrew Cashner throws rather hard - "Cashner threw 10 pitches in his first official spring outing and averaged comfortably better than 100 mph. He topped out at 103.3, a figure that can safely be called "Aroldissian."