The Angels have shifted their intrasquad schedule to night games, beginning Wednesday night at Angel Stadium in Anaheim (at 6:40 p.m. PT), more closely mimicking the rapidly approaching regular season.
Manager Joe Maddon said last week he didn’t particularly like night games during spring training until near the very end of camp, in preparation for the regular season.
“Your schedule is completely thrown off, at a time you’re trying to prepare,” he said. “Not only you, but people that work, whether it’s trainers, clubhouse attendants, groundskeepers. Everybody’s schedule is thrown off, and it doesn’t need to be.”
Teams mix in night games during spring training to increase attendance, but with no fans in the stands it’s been much easier to schedule summer camp from a pure baseball standpoint. Which is why the Angels haven’t played any night intrasquad games before Wednesday.
Night games are the norm the rest of the way, including all three exhibition games next week — Monday in San Diego against the Padres (6:10 p.m. PT), Tuesday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers (6:40 p.m.), and Wednesday at home against the Diamondbacks (6:40 p.m.).
Maddon said he liked playing games at the end of spring training in big league stadiums, something he was able to do at home in six of his nine years in Tampa Bay, and in three of his five years on the road with the Cubs.
“The big thing when you come out of more like a spring training/minor league environment, like Tempe Diablo would be, or even if we just had our own camp up at Blair [Field, in Long Beach], the third deck matters,” Maddon said Wednesday. “It’s just different depth perceptions. And then we have the added added advantage of playing under the lights. That’s the other part about liking regular spring training games that conclude in major league ballparks. It’s just a dress rehearsal, getting used to it.”
This year, of course, has been different, with a week and a half of workouts and intrasquad games at Angel Stadium for most in the player pool, though some have been at the alternate training site in Long Beach. But with no fans in the stands this year, that throws a wrinkle into things.
“Big ballpark? Yeah, Third deck? Yep. Bright lights? Yeah, but not a lot of noise,” Maddon said. “So I’m curious how some guys react to that, positively and negatively.”
The Angels added pitcher Denny Brady to their player pool on Wednesday, per multiple reports. The 23-year-old right-hander was drafted by the Angels in the seventh round in 2017, and posted a 3.64 ERA with 86 strikeouts in 76⅔ innings with Class-A Inland Empire in the Cal League last year.
Here’s how Locked on Angels host Taylor Blake Ward described Brady last season:
Denny Brady; easy arm with nice tempo, FB 90-94 with some bore and minimal run glove-side, confident in firm mid 80's CH early that he regularly doubled up on and altered to short slider he showed some ability to locate, command came and went #Angels— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) May 25, 2019
This technically gives the Angels 61 players in their player pool, but they also have seven players on the injured list — Dillon Peters, Jose Suarez, Jose Quijada, Brandon Marsh, Luis Rengifo, Julio Teheran, and Parker Markel. Markel was added to the injured list Tuesday.
None of the specific reasons for those injured list stays have been disclosed by the team, though any player on the COVID-19 related injured list would not count against the player pool nor any active or 40-man roster limits.