Although the Angels didn't official play a spring training game yesterday, there was some significant action on the field. As we've been following along all March, Garrett Richards recovery and successful return to the Halo rotation is the biggest question mark, and has the largest impact, on the season. The second largest being the "who's going to play second base" question. Below are two updates...
Halolinks for everyone:
- Man, there are so many great tidbits in that one paragraph; 93-96 mph, 31 of 44 pitches were strikes, didn't even think of his knee. Bold prediction #1; It's not even that bold, but I predict Richards' return to the rotation will be Friday April 17th against the Astros: Richards, Wilson strong in intrasquad game - angels.com, "Richards was at 93-96 mph with his fastball and threw 31 of his 44 pitches for strikes. He froze Baldoquin with an 88-mph slider on the outside corner, did additional pitchers' fielding practice after his outing and said he didn't even think about his surgically repaired left knee."
- A ton of good information in the Alden Gonzalez post, but I'm going to continue to beat the Chase Utley drum when it comes to 2B after reading this bit: The midway point … " Gonzo and 'The Show', "Second base really is wide open: And I’m not really sure if that’s good. Thing is, none of the three candidates for the everyday role have really stuck out. Grant Green (7-for-23) hasn’t looked comfortable defensively, Josh Rutledge (7-for-31, eight strikeouts) hasn’t hit and Johnny Giavotella (5-for-20) hasn’t done anything to wow you on either end. One guy who has looked to me is Taylor Featherston, who’s being groomed for the utility-infield job. I like his defense, I like his speed, and his bat may be starting to come around. But I view second base the same way I did at the start of camp: We’ll either see a lot of different guys play the position this year, or we’ll see the Angels go after someone (Chase Utley?)." Bold prediction #2; If Hamilton gets suspended for more than 20-30 games, the Angels will use the forfeited salary (in addition to salary relief from the Phillies) to help in acquiring Utley.
- You guys, Craig Calcaterra's preseason preview of the Angels: 2015 Preview: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - HardballTalk, "Is the window closing? Only if you define that window in terms of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. What the Angels showed last year is that with Mike Trout, all things are possible. And that they don’t need those big money veterans to be the best players on the team in order to compete. If anything, the Angels might have won 98 games as a team in transition last year. And that’s a scary thought for the rest of the A.L. West." Calcaterra picks the Angels to win the west.
- I wonder if my homeowner's policy covers tilted floors, or is that a pre-existing condit
(Thanks to Baseball Think Factory for the heads up.) Roger Clemens reaches settlement with his ex-trainer Brian McNamee - Newsday, "The settlement, which was reached after a three-hour conference behind closed doors in Brooklyn federal court, includes no financial contribution from Clemens, lawyers for both Clemens and McNamee said. The suit was set to go to trial in October. The actual settlement amount, which was not revealed, will be paid by AIG, which is Clemens' homeowners insurance, Clemens attorney Chip Babcock said. He said it's standard for homeowners policies to include coverage for defamation lawsuits." Bold prediction #3; I'll fall downhill getting out of the shower, but hopefully Jill will come tumbling after.
- Isn't it interesting that the numbers state the Angels' hitters will compile around 27 WAR and almost half of that will come from one player? The Most Cost Effective Line-Ups in Baseball - FanGraphs Baseball, "Taken from the FanGraphs Depth charts, here are the team totals for projected WAR in 2015."
- Remember yesterday's big story about the Cubs, Scott Boras, and Kris Bryant? Follow-up: Bryant responds to talk of starting in Minors - MLB.com, "First off, the ownership here has been great to me," he said. "I've had a great time, Tom is great to me, everybody in the front office is great to me and I have nothing but good things to say about them. "But at the same time, I'm hearing from my teammates that they want me up [in the big leagues], and I'm doing well and everybody's telling me I'm progressing well. It's sending mixed messages to me. It definitely is refreshing to hear from my teammates that they want me here." Sort of like, "I just want to give it my best shot, and the good Lord willing, things will work out."
- The fried foods and bacon booths will be right across from the "Kiss your sister for a buck" stand: Texas Rangers to introduce State Fare, new fried food stand - ESPN Dallas, "Fresh off the team's success of selling hundreds of pieces of bacon on a stick at each game last season, Mattox said the team will also have a Just Bacon stand, where it will sell such items as candied bacon, bacon cotton candy and bacon beer."
- Looks more like a 4th of July spectacular: This St. Patrick’s Day News Blooper Went Horribly NSFW In A Hurry As Children Looked On, "So this happened today on WGN."