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Tuesday Halolinks: The fear has returned, blackhole catcher

Angels' skipper Mike Scioscia loves his defensive catchers.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

I have a fear.

It's deep-rooted, and it keeps me up at night. This terrifying fear has a name:

Jeff Mathis.

Flashback time (March 28th, 2009):  Here's the catch for Mathis - The Orange County Register, "I think a catcher is going to influence a game and a season behind the plate more than he is with his four at-bats a night. When you're talking about catcher, it's different than when you're talking about a left fielder or a first baseman or a position player where, more times than not, the separation is on the offensive side. With catching, the separation is not on the offensive end."  Mike Scioscia likes his defensively gifted catchers.

Anway, it's nothing personal with Mathis.  I've never met him.  Maybe he's the sweetest, most tender-hearted man on earth, but that's not the fear I carry.  I'm afraid of what he does to a batting order.  After a few seasons of Mathis-less baseball, the fear subsided...a bit.  But then it happened, this spring brings a new contender to the horror show.  Jeff Mathis has morphed into...dunt-dunt-duhh...Drew Butera.

Butera brings veteran presence to Angels' roster -, "He puts the effort you want to see from a catcher to understand pitchers," Scioscia said. "That pitcher-catcher communication is really the most important thing you have going on your team, and he's really good at that. He's just a really good defensive player, everything from receiving the ball, blocking and the way he throws. That's a presence you want there for your staff."

Let's move on to some happier news:

  • A new word has been added to my vocabulary: "velo".  As in, Trout happy to face Chapman and his heater -, "It's good to face him in spring, obviously," Trout said. "See some velo."  Wait!  That should be, "velo" has been added to my vocab.
  • If you had a chance to watch Heaney's three innings yesterday, you can almost see the difference in his demeanor after the first inning.  If he's able to relax and get his mind calm, we could see some very nice innings from the left-handed rookie: Heaney has solid Angels debut in loss to Reds -, "Felt good," Heaney said. "First inning, I was a little amped up, going quick, couldn't catch my tempo. Second inning was better, third inning I felt like I got into a groove and got comfortable."
  • Hey look!  Another Cuban to wonder about.  Dodgers, Braves, Giants, Padres and Marlins seen as in Olivera mix -, "Cuban free-agent third baseman Hector Olivera is creating a decent stir and thought to be on the radar of the Dodgers, Braves, Padres, Giants and Marlins, according to people involved in the talks."
  • Geez, why didn't he ask for a 20-win season instead? Why C.J. Wilson Was Legally Required To Build This Rotary Mazda Miata: "Wilson wanted to buy another dealership about an hour away from one of his Mazda dealers in Chicago, CJ Wilson Mazda. The other dealership’s owner agreed to the sale, but on one condition: CJ Wilson Mazda would have to build him a rotary-powered Miata."
  • The Real Origins of Spring Training – The Hardball Times, "Given what spring training has become—a regimented set of workouts, practices and scrimmages throughout Arizona and Florida—it’s easy to overlook the reality that baseball’s preseason hasn’t always been this way. Indeed, the idea originated as a way for ballplayers to get a head start on the season, to spend a few extra weeks sweating out the lethargy and added pounds from a winter spent away from the game. Now, millionaire players arrive to camp in tip-top shape with little need for the conditioning that once prepared them for a long season."
  • SBNation's sister site took a look at the next big thing: Hands-on with a (working) Apple Watch - The Verge, "After months of anticipation, we've finally gotten to play with a working Apple Watch. The hardware is virtually the same as we saw back in September: a rounded rectangle that looks like nothing so much as a tiny first-gen iPhone, wrapped up in three different cases and held on to your wrist with a huge number of bands. But that's the physical stuff — we'll get to that. What matters today is the software, what it can do, and how it works. And it turns out it's actually pretty complicated."

    But the big news was this: At Bat reinvents itself for Apple Watch -, " At Bat, the highest-grossing sports app in history, will be available when the Apple Watch becomes available in many countries on April 24. The app was highlighted on stage during Apple's event on Monday announcing more details of its first new product in five years."