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David Fletcher adds center field to his tool box

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Angels utility man played 5 innings at a new position Monday

Los Angeles Angels v Cleveland Indians Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

David Fletcher impressed in his second season in 2019, getting on base for the Angels while providing versatility all over the diamond. But though he started double-digit games at four different positions last year, he never played professionally in center field.

Until Monday, that is.

Fletcher played five innings in center field against the Indians in Tempe, a position he told reporters he hadn’t played since Little League. At the plate, Fletcher delivered an RBI double and walked twice.

The utility man played exclusively in the infield in the minors, and that was limited to shortstop and second base only until he added third base to his goody bag in 2018, the year he made his major league debut. In 2019, Fletcher started 74 games in the majors at third base, but also started 27 times at shortstop, 26 times at second base, and 18 times in left field. He even played 14 total innings in right field the last two years.

Fletcher last year was the only Angel ever to play at least 10 games at second base, shortstop, third base, and left field.

But never center field. With newcomer Anthony Rendon taking over the hot corner, Fletcher needs as many ways to get into the lineup as possible. Sure, he won’t be taking any starts away from Mike Trout, but being ready for anything puts Fletcher at the top of mind when Joe Maddon makes out his lineup card.

Links

The annual tradition of Mike Trout passing on his No. 1 jersey to the team captains each year at his alma mater, Millville High School in New Jersey, gets profiled by Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic. “It seemed like the best thing to do rather than just put it under glass and a trophy case or something, to have it out there and have it mean something, to be awarded,” Trout’s former high school coach Roy Hallenbeck told Ardaya.

Mike Mayers is fighting for a bullpen spot, writes Maria Torres of the LA Times.

MLB Pipeline ranked team farm systems and the Angels rated 26th, with the blurb, “Starting with the two guys at the top, this organization has a lot of toolsy, athletic types that are of the high-risk, high-reward variety.”