It’s here. It’s finally here. Angels pitchers and catchers have reported to Tempe, Arizona today, which coincidentally is Valentine’s Day, so it’s quite appropriate to gush about the sport we love the most being back in our lives. Spring Training is officially underway, folks, and the Halos’ 2017 season begins NOW. Are you ready? (As if I even need to ask)
We’re only a few hours into this jubilant occasion, and already we’re getting some reports from the Angels’ Cactus League home, Tempe Diablo Stadium. Here’s a little bit of the chatter coming from Arizona.
G-Rich pitch count?
Garrett Richards is coming off of a big injury scare in 2016, in which he jacked up his UCL. Normally, this would mean TJ surgery, but as we previously discussed on Halos Heaven, he dodged that bullet by undergoing a mix of PRP injections and stem cell therapy. He’s had a good offseason of rehab, apparently (and he also got married this winter, too, so there’s that), and he’s ready to get back to work.
There is a little bit of a hitch in that plan, though, as today at camp Richards said he expects to be on a pitch count this year.
#Angels Garrett Richards said he threw his first bullpen Friday and he feels 100 percent normal.— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) February 14, 2017
Richards said he's expecting to have a 100-pitch limit this year (not sure how firm). Says his goal is to be more pitch efficient.— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) February 14, 2017
The team is probably just playing it safe, for now, and that’s a-ok by me. That’s quite a change from last April, though, when he had TWO outings in which he threw 115 pitches. G-Rich seems cool with this tact, and it’s his arm and health, so I’ll defer to the professionals here and hope for the best from him.
The Cobbler is ready to cobble
Matt Shoemaker feels good. Considering when we last saw him on the mound, he had just gotten his skull fractured by a screaming line drive, I am happy to hear him say he’s ready to rock and roll.
#Angels Matt Shoemaker is also here, says he feels 100 percent after getting hit in the head by a line drive, and brain surgery last Sept.— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) February 14, 2017
It ain’t just pitchers & catchers reporting
Some other players besides pitchers and catchers really just can’t wait til Friday to report for duty, so they’re already in Tempe, ready to get things cooking. One such player is Cameron Maybin, who has not only reported early, but he’s doing so with his brand new jersey number (the #9 was formerly rocked by Gary Disarcina and Chone Figgins).
Pujols’ feet still don’t work
Albert Pujols, coming off a foot surgery over the offseason, is in camp already and talking to reporters. He told reporters that he feels really good, and ready for any baseball activities that come his way...as long as they don’t include running. Oh, OK.
Albert Pujols (foot surgery) said he can do everything but run. Seems optimistic but didn't promise he'd be ready for opening day. #Angels— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) February 14, 2017
Running is kind of important, so I wont hold my breath on seeing Albert in the Opening Day lineup. Although, it’s not like he could run last year, too, so this isn’t anything we haven’t seen from Pujols before. Still, that’s why we have Luis Valbuena and C.J. Cron, and frankly, I’m quite fine with those two getting most 1B/DH duties while Pujols gets his foot condition in order. Again, being able to run in the sport of baseball is kind of important.
So, just a couple hours into camp and we’ve already got fresh Angels news flowing into our feeds, and all is right in the Halosphere. We’re just getting warmed up, too. Lots and lots more to come.