Friday, May 29, 2009

Tonight the Angels will begin a three game series against division rivals Seattle Mariners to close out a quick six game home-stand. Los Angeles is coming off another gem thrown by Jered Weaver who defeated the Chicago White Sox 3-1 on Wednesday.

MLB's amateur draft is quickly approaching. LA Times reporter Kevin Baxter takes a look and speaks with Eddie Bane about the Angels plans. If you guessed High School short-stops and left handed pitchers, you win a prize.

All kidding aside, Bane does confess to Steve Bisheff that the Angels have done a poor job at developing power hitters, especially in the corner outfield positions saying

"If we like a pitcher much better at one of those spots, we'll take him. But if it's close, between a pitcher and a hitter with power, we'll go with the power."

Personally, I like the sound of that.

Torii Hunter talks to the OC Register about his defense.

In this man's opinion Hunter's got to be one of the early candidates for MVP, however the All Star voting public doesn't seem to be paying attention. Torii is currently 11th in fan voting behind the .220 hitting Ken Griffey.

Do your democratic duty and exercise your vote. Hunter in 2009!

Riding a 15 game hitting streak, Chone Figgins reflects on his baseball mentors.

Kelvim Escobar completed another stellar rehab start on Wednesday night. Escobar will likely make one more start before rejoining the Angels on Monday for the Salt Lake City Bees putting him in line to debut for the Angels Saturday June 6 in Detroit.

After Wednesday's game the Angels placed Scot Shields on the disabled list and recalled reliever Rich Thompson.

John Lackey feels the handcuffs are off as he facing the Mariners tonight.

Radio: 830, KFWB 980, 1330.
Tonight: John Lackey (1-0, 6.00) vs. Jason Vargas (1-0, 1.29) / TV: FSW
Saturday: Matt Palmer (5-0, 4.71) vs. Felix Hernandez (5-3, 3.76) / TV: FWS
Sunday: Ervin Santana (0-2, 7.82) vs. Chris Jakubauskas (3-5, 6.45) / TV: KCOP

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

RHP Ryan Chaffee tops the Prospect Hotlist this week

By David Saltzer - Columnist

In a week that saw the Angels’ combined minor league teams go a collective 11-14, many of the regular weekly Hot Prospects struggled. But, since baseball is a team sport, even when some struggle, others shine. It’s not surprising that the minor league team with the best record, Cedar Rapids (with a record of 6-1 over the past week), also finds itself with the most players on this week’s list. Hitting this week took a back seat to the pitching, so, the list is mostly comprised by our hurlers. With that, we again bring you our weekly Hot Prospect List for May 27, 2009.

Hot Prospects May 27, 2009

1. Ryan Chaffee, RHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 7 Days: 2-0, 0 Saves, 3.60 ERA, 10.0 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 19 K, 1.00 WHIP
Overall: 3-1, 0 Saves, 3.48 ERA, 31.0 IP, 20 H, 15 BB, 35 K, 1.13 WHIP, 190 BAA

What’s Up: Last week Ryan Chaffee came in as our #8 pick in part because he fanned 15 batters in 11 innings. This week, he topped those numbers and struck out 19 in 10.0 innings to earn the top honors! What makes this week’s numbers better than last week’s is that his control was much more spot-on and he only gave up 3 walks compared to 7 the week before. Although Chaffee is a year older than Reckling, Chatwood, and Smith, his ceiling may be as high as any of our other top-shelf pitchers.

2.Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 7 Days: 1-0, 0 Saves, 1.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 K, 0.83 WHIP
Overall: 2-2, 0 Saves, 1.85 ERA, 34.0 IP, 16 H, 20 BB, 28 K, 1.06 WHIP, 150 BAA

What’s Up: With another quality start for the Kernels, Tyler Chatwood continues to show why he was our #1 draft pick last year. While the overall number of walks is too high, his rate of BB/IP is dropping. There’s no doubt why the Kernels had the best record for all of our minor league franchises last week—it’s the starting pitching. The combination of Chatwood, Chaffee, Correa, Flores, and Smith makes for a fearsome rotation, and probably the best starting rotation in any of our minor league affiliates.

3. Julio Perez, OF, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 7 Games: 11/23 (478), 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2 HRs, 3 Runs, 7 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: 317/343/534 with 6 HRs and 3 SBs

What’s Up: Hitting in the middle of the Quakes lineup, Julio Perez has mashed 20 extra-base hits so far this season. Originally signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2002, Julio has been slowly working his way up the Angels organization. Typically Julio has gone on torrid 2-3 week stretches like this, but this may be the beginning of his best stretch yet.

4. Trevor Bell, RHP, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 7 Days: 0-0, 0 Saves, 1.29 ERA, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 K, 0.57 WHIP
Overall: 3-2, 0 Saves, 2.34 ERA, 50.0 IP, 39 H, 11 BB, 39 K, 1.00 WHIP, 209 BAA

What’s Up: Bell’s development hasn’t been a linear progression. Last year was definitely a detour for him. While the Travelers are struggling well below 500, Bell has been pitching like a 1st round draft pick even though his W/L record does not reflect it. He hasn’t been getting the press that Reckling and Walden have been getting, but maybe that’s allowing him to develop into a solid middle to top of the order pitcher for the Halos. With nearly a 4:1 K:BB ratio, he’ll keep moving up the Angels’ ladder.

5. Will Smith, LHP, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 7 Days: 2-0, 0 Saves, 1.38 ERA, 13.0 IP, 12 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 1.00 WHIP
Overall: 2-1, 0 Saves, 3.86 ERA, 28.0 IP, 33 H, 6 BB, 26 K, 1.39 WHIP, 297 BAA

What’s Up: Will Smith has finally given up as many walks this year as he did in all of last year. But, when you’re 25% of the way through the season and only are talking about 6 walks, that’s nothing to complain about! While slightly more of his pitches have fallen in for hits this year, his numbers otherwise are very solid, especially for a 19 year old lefty. While Reckling is more advanced and pitching at a higher level, Will Smith has been progressing steadily out of the radar while still exhibiting excellent control.

6. Tim Kiely, RHP, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 7 Days: 1-0, 0 Saves, 1.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 0.55 WHIP
Overall: 4-3, 0 Saves, 3.59 ERA, 57.2 IP, 59 H, 5 BB, 35 K, 1.11 WHIP, 259 BAA

What’s Up: Drafted deep in the 2008 draft, Tim Kiely pitched a gem his last time out against the Lake Elsinore Storm last weekend allowing only 1 run in his complete game. Add to it his start from last Monday, where he pitched another 6 full innings and only allowed 1 run at Lancaster, and it’s easy to see that Tim Kiely is on a bit of a tear.

7. Tyson Auer, OF, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 7 Games: 13/30 (433), 2 Doubles, 0 Triples, 0 HRs, 9 Runs, 4 RBIs, 2 SBs
Overall: 278/345/367 with 2 HRs and 14 SBs

What’s Up: Batting leadoff for the Kernels, Tyson Auer was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008 out of the University of Central Florida. He has raw speed (he’s been caught 8 times), and needs to refine his approach to base stealing to become a more successful leadoff hitter. He also needs to work on his plate discipline (he’s posted a 43:15 K:BB ratio). But he really mashed this week and benefited from having the patient and talented Alexi Amarista hitting behind him.

8. Barret Browning, LHP, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 7 Days: 0-0, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 0.67 WHIP
Overall: 0-1, 0 Saves, 2.49 ERA, 25.1 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 9 K, 1.42 WHIP, 263 BAA

What’s Up: Pressed into a starting role for the back end of a double header, Browning responded admirably going 5 complete innings and only allowing 2 hits. Primarily used as a reliever, Browning is more in the mold of Darren Oliver LHP in that he’s a lefty that can go for more than just 1 batter, and often goes for more than 1 full inning. With almost a full year in Double-A Arkansas, Browning may get a bump up to Salt Lake sometime this season as we continue to search for bullpen help.

9. Peter Bourjos, OF, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 7 Games: 10/29 (345), 3 Doubles, 1 Triple, 0 HRs, 3 Runs, 2 RBIs, 0 SBs
Overall: 319/370/452 with 1 HR and 12 SBs

What’s Up: The Travelers haven’t been winning many games of late, and just can’t seem to get their pitching and hitting in sync. But, what has been getting in sync is Bourjos’ plate discipline which has risen to a 370 clip. That’s almost 50 points higher than last year. But, he hasn’t sacrificed any of the power to maintain that higher OB%. Already Bourjos has walked 13 times in 41 games compared to 19 walks in 121 games for all of last year. Bourjos has still been a bit reckless on the basepaths, having been caught 6 times in 18 attempts, but, we expect him to refine his craft with more opportunities over the season. We are, however, encouraged by all the improvement in plate discipline which will allow Bourjos more opportunities to try and swipe a bag.

10. Bryan Rembisz, RHP, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 7 Days: 0-0, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K, 0.75 WHIP
Overall: 1-2, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 20.2 IP, 9 H, 7 BB, 13 K, 0.77 WHIP, 129 BAA

What’s Up: Shhhh! Here’s a secret: Bryan Rembisz doesn’t have your typical pitcher’s body. At 5’8”, he’s a bit short for a pitcher. He’s so vertically challenged that Eddie Bane nicknamed him “The Hat” because all you see out there is a blur and a hat. But, that’s hasn’t stopped Rembisz from shutting down the opposition all year long allowing just 9 hits and 7 walks in 20.2 innings. At times, Bryan has suffered from some bad luck, losing both games on unearned runs. But, as we all know, W/L records aren’t what pitchers are entirely judged upon, and all the other numbers for Rembisz are superb.

Monday, May 25, 2009




The Angels return home from a 5-5 road trip after taking the first part of the Freeway Series from the Dodgers two games to one with yesterdays 10-7 victory.

Tonight the Angels will welcome Vladimir Guerrero back to the team and hope his addition will make the lineup deeper.

Angels M*A*S*H Unit

Scot Shields could be sidelined for a few games or be headed to the DL with knee tendinitis.

Howie Kendrick missed yesterday's game with cramping in his hamstring. Last year Kendrick missed significant time with hamstring problems.

Dustin Moseley still can't figure out the source of the pain in his neck and elbow.

There is good news however. Kelvim Escobar expects to return to the rotation when he's eligible to return from the disabled list on June 4.

TV - FWS (all games)
Radio - KLAA 830, KFWB, KWKW 1330

Tonight: Ervin Santana (0-1, 3.09) vs. John Danks (3-3, 4.60)
Tuesday: Joe Saunders (6-2, 3.17) vs. Bartolo Colon (2-4, 4.23)
Wednesday: Jered Weaver (3-2, 2.52) vs. Gavin Floyd (3-4, 6.54)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Interleague play is back this weekend as the Angels head to Chavez Ravine to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With a 21-19 record, the second place Angels face the NL West leading Dodgers (29-13). Angels are 2 games back of Texas while the Dodgers hold a 9 game lead over San Francisco.

This weekends series will showcase some of the better starting pitching in baseball.

Fri: Jered Weaver (3-2, 2.59 ERA) vs Clayton Kershaw (4-2, 4.60 ERA)
Saturday: John Lackey (1-0, 9.00 ERA) vs Randy Wolf (2-1, 2.72 ERA)
Sunday: Matt Palmer (5-0, 4.26 ERA) vs Chad Billingsley (6-1, 2.15 ERA)

Both teams will be without their All Star sluggers as Vladimir Guerrero will be playing for Rancho Cucamunga on a rehab assignment and is expected back with the club Monday night against Chicago. Meanwhile Manny Ramirez is sitting at home waiting out his 50 game suspension for testing positive for PEDs.

For the Angels it is expected that Bobby Abreu (toe) will likely sit out the series as a starter but could pinch hit.

LA Times writers Mike DiGiovanna & Dylan Hernandez take a look at the calming influence that Mike Scioscia and Joe Torre bring to their teams.

Fact of the day - John Lackey holds the second best ERA in Interleague history at 2.52 behind Johan Santana at 2.49.

RADIO - All games on KLAA 830, KFWB, KWKW 1330
TV - Friday FSW / Sat & Sun KCOP 13

Clay Fuller enjoyed a good night for the Quakes going 3-4.

Triple-A: Salt Lake 5, Albuquerque 4

Knox: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, HR (5.08)
Evans: 1-4, HR(7), RBI, 2 K, HBP (.266)
Sandoval: 1-3, HR(5), RBI, 2 BB (.313)
Rodriguez: 1-3, HR(15), 2 RBI, BB, K (.274)
Wilson: 2-3, 2 singles (.282)
Pavkovich: 2-4, double, single, RBI, 2 K (.269)
Coon: 1-2, single, 2 BB, K (.236)

Double-A: Arkansas 3, Springfield 4

Mendoza: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, HR, WP (4.18)
Bourjos: 2-5, triple, single, K (.327)
Johnson: 1-3, single, RBI (.188)
Trumbo: 2-4, 2 singles (.213)
Breen: 1-4, HR, RBI, 2 K (.209)
Smith: 1-3, single, RBI, BB (.252)

High-A Ball: Rancho Cucamonga 9, High Desert 10

Miller: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, HR (4.05)
Fuller: 3-4, double, 2 singles, RBI, BB (.248)
Estrella: 3-5, double, 2 singles, 2 RBI, K (.288)
Perez: 3-5, 2 HR(6), double, 4 RBI, K (.308)
Sweeney: 1-4, 1 RBI (.315)

Low-A Ball: Cedar Rapids 3, Great Lakes 6 (13 innings)

Correa: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (6.02)
Auer: 3-5, 2 doubles, single, RBI, BB (.248)
Amarista: 2-5, 2 singles, 2 K (.343)
Younger: 1-3, single, BB, K (.333)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Peter Bourjos continues to rake for the Arkansas Travelers

May 20th games

Triple-A: No game

Double-A: Arkansas 4, Springfield 5 (10 innings)

Anton: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, HR (4.60)
Bourjos: 3-5, 2 doubles, single, RBI (.324)
Ortiz: 2-5, 2 singles (.234)
Wipke: 2-5, double, single, RBI, K (.238)

High-A: Rancho Cucamonga 4, High Desert 6

Jimenez: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 WP (6.82)
Perez: 2-3, triple, single, K (.298)
Rosario: 2-4, triple, single, RBI, K (.293)

Low-A: Cedar Rapids 3, Great Lakes 2

Flores: 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, WP (2.05)
Brooks: 1-4, double (.300)
Younger: 2-3, 2 singles, RBI, BB, K (.333)

May 19th games

Triple-A: Salt Lake 2, Iowa 3

Austen: 5 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, WP (3.60)
Evans: 2-5, double, single, K (.266)
Sandoval: 2-4, double, single, RBI (.313)
Wood: 1-3, single, K, BB (.359)

Double-A: Arkansas 2, Springfield 7

Walden: 2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, HBP (6.89)
Bourjos: 2-4, double, single, K (.314)
Wipke: 1-1, single, BB (.216)
Mount: 2-4, double, single, RBI, K (.273)

High-A Ball: Rancho Cucamonga 8, High Desert 19

Fish: 2.2 IP, 10 H, 8 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, HR, HBP (6.80)
Fuller: 2-4, 2 singles, RBI, 2 BB (.242)
Sweeney: 3-4, double, 2 singles, 2 RBI, BB (.319)
Moore: 2-5, double, single, RBI, K (.329)
Norman: 2-4, triple, single, RBI, BB (.219)
Bressoud: 2-2, 2 singles, RBI (1.000)
Colmenares: 2-3, double, single, 2 BB (.375)

Low-A Ball: Cedar Rapids 7, Burlington 2

Smith: 5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, HR (5.40)
Auer: 2-5, double, single (.242)
Lopez: 3-4, 3 singles, RBI, HBP (.271)
Brooks: 3-4, 3 singles, RBI, BB, K (.304)
Crawford: 2-5, 2 singles, RBI, 2 K (.261)
Groth: 2-5, 2 singles, RBI, K (.128)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Slugger Matt Sweeney has been red hot of late for the Quakes.

Hot Prospects - May 20th, 2009

By Chuck Richter - Executive Editor

Quick programming note. Since we're going on air weekly with Jeff Biggs on the Angels local radio station AM 830 every Wednesday night from 5:15 to 6:00 p.m. PST in a feature called "The Richter Scale" with Executive Editor Chuck Richter - we'll be publishing the prospect hotlist every Wednesday from now on, until the end of the minor league season.

OK, let's get right into it. This week the Hottest Prospect in the Angels organization is.........

1. Matt Sweeney, 3B, High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Games: .405, 2 HR's, 6 doubles, 12 RBI's, 9 walks/5 strikeouts
Overall: .319/.394/.543 - 5 HR's, 12 doubles, 28 RBI's

What’s Up: Fans clamoring for Brandon Wood to replace Chone Figgins at thirdbase after the season take notice. Matt Sweeney missed the entire 2008 season after sustaining an ankle injury in spring camp last year, needed season ending surgery. The well built, 6'3' 220 lb slugger who is just 21 years old, is making up for lost time. Hitting from the left-side of the plate, Sweeney has posted a .937 OPS to date and aside from his power totals (5 HR's, 12 doubles) he's shown an impressive 16/19 walks to strikeouts rate for a slugger. Sweeney gets the nod for the top spot after hitting .405 for the week, including 12 RBI's, while walking 9 times.

2. Brandon Wood, SS, Triple-A Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Days: .405, 4 HR's, 9 RBI's, 8 walks/6 strikeouts
Overall: .359/.451/.782 - 9 HR's, 4 doubles, 19 RBI's

What’s Up: Brandon Wood is doing everything he can to warrant a full time promotion to the big league club. Hit .405 in his past 10 days, including 4 home runs and 9 RBI's. Like Sweeney, he's also shown a good eye at the plate, walking eight times vs. six strikeouts. The question for Brandon Wood is, who does he replace? Erick Aybar at SS or Chone Figgins at 3B? Both of these guys are excelling at the top of the order for the Angels, so it's doubtful Brandon sees a promotion any time soon, unless there is a trade or an injury to either of the infielders on the left side of the diamond.

3. Peter Bourjos, OF, Double-A Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Days: .450, 18 hits, 1 HR, 5 RBI's, 7 runs scored
Overall: .314/.375/.438 - 5 triples, 12 SB's

What’s Up: Peter Bourjos was named Texas League Player of the Week for May 11 to 17, announced by the Texas League officials on Monday. Normally the type of week that Bourjos had would earn him the top spot in any hotlist. Bourjos hit .450 in his last 10 games which includes 18 hits in that span. The speedy centerfielder with a lightening quick bat is one of the most exciting players to watch in the organization.

4. Alexi Amarista, 2B, Low-A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: .448, 13 hits, 3 SB's, 6 walks/3 strikeouts
Overall: .344/.435/.500 - 10 doubles, 5 triples, 15 SB's

What’s Up: The 5'8 buck 50, second baseman has been a regular on our prospect hotlist this season. Alexi racked up 13 hits in his last 10 games and continues to show an amazing knack for getting on base. His .435 on base pct. and 15 stolen bases provide the Kernels with the perfect table setter for Jacobo, Lopez, Brooks and Castillo. Alexi's 15 extra base hits early on prove he's not just a lite hitting, slap and dash hitter too.

5. Michael Kohn, RHP, Low-A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 1.42 ERA, 19 strikeouts, 12.2 innings, 2 saves
Overall: 2-0, 2 saves, 21.2 innings, 31 strikeouts, .143 BAA

What’s Up: Kohn has emerged as the closer for the Kernels and has notched 2 saves out of his last two chances. Fanned 19 Midwest League batters in his last 12.2 innings of work. On the season, Kohn has struck out 31 in just 21 2/3 innings. His mid 90's fastball to go along with his above average breaking stuff, has produced some steller results. Kohn boasts a 1.42 ERA for the Kernels.

6. Sean Rodriguez, 2B, Triple-A Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Days: .378, 5 HR's, 13 RBI's, 9 runs scored
Overall: .273/.370/.659 - 14 HR's, 41 RBI's, 5 SB's

What’s Up: Someone must have posted a sticky on Howie Kendrick's locker with 2B Sean Rodriguez latest numbers with the Bees after struggling mightily for a 3 week span, Howie is 4-9 in his last two games. Sean Rodriguez has posted two multi-homer games in his last 10, driving in 5 a piece for each of those contests, including a 5-5 effort against Iowa on May 16th. Sean hit 21 home runs in just 248 at bats with the Bees last season, is the Angels organizational home run leader with 14 on the season. That's the good, the bad is he's fanned 43 times in just 38 games thus far after striking out just 45 times in 66 contests in 2008.

7. Jeremy Moore, OF, High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Games: .349, 15 hits, 6 RBI's
Overall: .329/.364/.455 - 2 HR's, 6 doubles, 3 triples, 3 SB's

What’s Up: Teammate of Matt Sweeney, Jeremy Moore is also on a roll with the Quakes. Moore has hit .349 in the last 10 days while playing left field for the Quakes. Moore, an atheltic build and equipped with both power and speed, has hit just 2 home runs in the California League after clubbing 17 with the Kernels last season in just 96 games, suggesting he's shortening his swing a bit (hit just .240 in the Midwest League last season). Moore has above average speed, but he's had a tough time swiping bases this season, getting caught 8 times out of 11 chances. Moore stole 28 bases out of 38 tries last season.

8. Ryan Chaffee, RHP, Low-A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 2 starts: 11 innings, 2 runs, 15 strikeouts, 4 hits allowed
Overall: 2-1, 2.77 ERA, 26 innings, 24 strikeouts, .174 BAA

What’s Up: Chaffee is starting to pick it up with the Kernels, notching 15 strikeouts in his last two starts (11 innings total), while allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits. Chaffee along with Will Smith, Manuarys Correa, Tyler Chatwood & Manual Flores boast one of the finest and most talented rotations' in the minors.

9. Matt Brown, 1B, Triple-A Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Games: .382, 13 hits, 5 HR's, 2 doubles, 15 RBI's
Overall: .248/.350/.496 - 6 HR's, 28 RBI's

What’s Up: After hitting just a buck eight-nine in the month of April, Matt Brown has turned things around in the month of May, hitting .297, while clubbing five of his six home runs on the season. Matt Brown gets my vote to replace Robb Quinlan on the Angels roster, as he's a guy that can play first base and third and provide some pop off the bench. Matt has driven in 15 runs in his last 10 games.

10. Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Low-A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 2 starts: 12 innings, 4 earned runs, 13 strikeouts
Overall: 1-2, 1.93 ERA, 28 innings, 26 strikeouts, .151 BAA

What’s Up: The Angels #1 pick in last years' amateur draft notched his third start in which he's given up no runs, this time showing better command of his pitches as he walked just two, while fanning 6 through 6 scoreless innings. Chatwood is boasting a 1.93 ERA through five starts for the Kernels. His fastball and curve are both plus pitches and he's making strides with his changeup from all reports as well.

Just missed the list: Sean O'Sullivan, Manual Flores, Steven Geltz, Rich Thompson, Fred Sandoval, Trevor Reckling, Will Smith, Trevor Bell, Tommy Mendoza, Ryan Mount, Terry Evans, Michael Anton and Beau Brooks.

John Lackey made it past 2 pitches last night and helped the Angels defeat the Mariners 10-6. Lackey wasn't at his best, but he's on the mound in a game that counted and that's all that matters. The real story was the Angels offense flexing their power. Juan Rivera hit his second homer of the season while Kendry Morales blasted two of his own.

Morales is really starting to show fans that the front office was correct in not being overly worried about the loss of Mark Teixeira. Morales has 25 RBI in his last 27 games, 16 of his last 28 hits have gone for extra-bases. Morales and Teixeira have very similar numbers at this point in the year with Kendry out-slugging the Yankees first baseman with a .551 mark.

Good news! Vladimir Guerrero and Kelvim Escobar will be starting rehab assignments this weekend with the Rancho Cucamunga Quakes. Guerrero will be unable to play right field (which is why he is not being activated sooner, this weekends games are under NL rules at Chavez Ravine) for some time to come but his bat is what the club really needs. He will be activated on Monday to face the Chicago White Sox.

Escobar is expected to throw about 60 pitches and the Angels want to get him extended to the 90-100 pitch range before he is deemed ready to return to the big club. The Angels aren't sure if they will need him in the rotation or in the bullpen.

Escobar tells the Times he'll do whatever the Angels need.

"I'll do whatever they want me to do," Escobar said. "It makes sense to [prepare as a starter] because it's easier to adjust to being a reliever. If I can throw 100 pitches, it's easy to throw 20 pitches. I would just have to get used to throwing every day."

Matt Palmer is the main reason the Angels might be able to use Escobar out of the bullpen. Tonight Palmer tries to extend his winning streak to 5 against Seattle. Only two others Jered Weaver (7) and Bo Belinsky (5) have gotten out to better starts than the 4-0 Palmer. Mark Saxon takes a look.

Howie Kendrick is struggling big time and a lot of Angel fans see what Brandon Wood is doing at AAA and also know Chone Figgins is capable of playing second-base. Thus they are starting to wonder why Mike Scioscia is not making a change. Kendrick was in the middle of the Angels go ahead rally last night and hopefully it's a sign of better things to come. LA Times blogger Steve Bisheff still believes in the talented Mr. Kendrick.

Los Angeles has agreed to terms on a minor league contract with reliever Rudy Seanez. Seanez will be assigned to extended spring training in Arizona before heading to Salt Lake City.

Tonight at Mariners

Matt Palmer (4-0, 3.38) vs Felix Hernandez (4-2, 3.53)

Anel De Los Santos is hitting well in Low-A Ball with the Cedar Rapids Kernels

Triple-A: Salt Lake 3, Iowa 12

MacDonald: 6 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, HR, 2 HBP (6.34)
Pettit: 1-3, double, HBP (.404) * 11 SB's, .447 OBP
Brown: 2-3, HR(6), single, RBI (.257)
Wood: 2-3, 2 singles, BB (.360)

Double-A: Arkansas 2, Springfield 3

Jordan Walden gets the start tonight vs. Springfield
Reckling: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (1.55) *ejected from game
Bourjos: 2-4, 2 singles (.308) * 12 SB's on the season
Johnson: 1-1, single, 3 BB (.189)
Mount: 2-4, 2 singles (.266)
Ortiz: 1-3, single, RBI (.235)

High-A: Rancho Cucamonga 2, Lancaster 1

Kiely: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (4.07)
Sweeney: 2-4, double, single, K (.306)
Phillips: 1-3, single (.209)
Rosario: 1-3, single, RBI (.282)

Low-A Ball: Cedar Rapids 3, Burlington 2

Chaffee: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, WP (2.77)
De Los Santos: 2-4, HR(3), single, RBI, 2 K (.273)
Bailey: 2-2, 2 singles, BB (.280)

Monday, May 18, 2009

By Coral Marshall - Columnist

For someone who has won the Gold Glove for eight consecutive seasons, Torii Hunter is a guy who doesn't get much credit when it comes to the All-Star Game. Sure, a career .273 batting average with about 25 home runs a year are not the numbers one expects from an All-Star outfielder (think Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle or Ted Williams). Instead, Hunter's overall numbers are more akin to former Angel Fred Lynn, an All-Star who didn't make it to the game for the last seven seasons of his career. (He too averaged 25 homers a year and a .283 batting average, only .010 higher than Torii's.)

But the All-Star Game isn't about comparing the past with the present; it is about electing who is most deserving in the early months of a season to a game that not only celebrates the players who have done the best so far, but also determines which league gets home field advantage in the World Series. This should not be about fans only electing big name players, or players from their favorite team, yet it inevitably comes down to that; evidenced by the fact that fans are not allowed to vote for pitchers, perhaps even more telling is the election of David Ortiz to play first base when games are in National League parks and designated hitters are not used. But fans of the game of baseball should instead vote for the players who will give them the best game possible, especially since each team is required to have at least one player represented on the roster.

If the Angels are to have only one player on this roster, Torii Hunter is most deserving this season. This isn't to say that Mike Napoli and others have not stepped up to the plate metaphorically, but rather that Hunter has exceeded all expectations in Vladimir Guerrero's absence. While Napoli, Gary Matthews Jr., Bobby Abreu, Juan Rivera and the rest of the team have really come through in the trying times the Angels have faced with this season's injuries, Hunter has displayed the fielding and batting expertise necessary to hold the team together, which does not even include his clubhouse presence — which one can deduce from player interviews keeps everyone in good spirits.

Instead of making the All-Star Game a who's who of baseball, fans should work to honor those who have made a difference on the field and carried their team to this point in the season. Torri Hunter has become a prime example of this. His defense is unmatched, as shown by the aforementioned Gold Gloves, and not to mention his almost nightly appearance on baseball highlight reels. And to be honest, the numbers don't lie — Hunter has a perfect fielding percentage so far this year; that means no errors.

His offense has been impressive so far this season, too. Before Sunday's game, the Angels had a total of 27 home runs this season, of which Hunter had hit 9; that's one-third of the total for the team. (Is anyone else reminded of Babe Ruth in the 1920s by that kind of percentage?) His total ranks him No. 10 in the AL. His at-bats-per-homer ratio is an impressive No. 10 in the league, as well. With 14-plus position players in a game like the All-Star Game, where players are likely to only get one or two at bats for the entire game, this is a highly important statistic. The fewer at bats, on average, it takes for a player to hit a home run the more likely in any game (let alone a game that they will more than likely not bat the minimum three times) they are to do so, increasing the odds of scoring at one time rather than having to put together a rally. While his batting average may not have him on any leader boards before Sunday's game, he was batting .317 this season (an entire .029 points higher than his highest single season average), and more importantly his .611 Slugging Percentage ranks him ninth in the American League, while his 1.012 On-Base Plus Slugging percentage puts him at eighth.

Hunter has not only stood out amongst the Halos this year, but amongst the entire league. Who knows, with these numbers, maybe by the end of the season this will become a petition for an MVP instead of an All-Star Game bid.

Terry Evans enjoyed a good weekend with the Bees. Has 6 HR's and 8 SB's thus far

Notable performances for the weekend:

Rodriguez: 5-9, 2 HRs (14), 3 singles (.278)
Chatwood: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 (1.93)
O'Sullivan: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 K (no-hitter into 7th; 5.97)
Sandoval: 4-10, HR (4), 3 singles, 4 RBI, BB, K (.316)
Brown: 3-6, 2 HR(5), single, 6 RBI, K (.245)
Evans: 4-9, HR(6), 3 singles, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K (.264)
Moore: 6-7, triple, 5 singles, 3 RBI, K (.328)
Romine: 3-8, 3 singles (.285)
Fuller: 5-9, 5 singles, 2 K (.242)
Crawford: 3-7, 3 singles, RBI, BB (.256)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sean Rodriguez (left) leads the organization with 12 HR's early on in the 2009 season

Triple-A: Salt Lake 8, Omaha 9

Denham: 3 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, HR (4.46)
Sandoval: 1-4, HR(3), RBI, BB, K (.310)
Wood: 2-4, HR(9), single, 3 RBI, K (.354)
Rodriguez: 1-3, HR(12), 3 RBI, BB, K (.256)
Pettit: 2-5, 2 singles, RBI (.414)

Double-A: Arkansas 9, Tulsa 7

Diaz: 6.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, HR (5.88)
Bourjos: 4-5, HR(1), 3 singles, 3 RBI (.296) * 11 SB's
Conger: 1-4, HR(3), 2 RBI (.288)
Nieves: 2-3, double, single, K (.269)
Breen: 1-1, single (.212)
Mount: 1-3, single, 2 RBI, 2 K (.258)
Statia: 1-3, double, RBI, BB (.187)

High-A Ball: Rancho Cucamonga 9, Lancaster 11

Jimenez: 4 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, HR, HBP (7.36)
Perez: 2-5, double, single, K (.283)
Rosario: 2-4, 2 singles (.292)
Colmenares: 2-3, 2 singles (.274 between 2 levels)

Low-A Ball: Cedar Rapids 5, Wisconsin 2

Flores: 7 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (2.00)
Amarista: 2-5, 2 singles (.353)
Jacobo: 1-2, double, BB, HBP, K (.252)
Castillo: 1-2, single, BB, 2 RBI (.248)
Crawford: 1-4, double, 2 RBI, K (.246)
Younger: 1-3, single, HBP (.271)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Will Smith fanned seven through 6 solid innings against Wisconsin on Thursday

Triple-A: Salt Lake 7, Omaha 5

Knox: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, HR, HBP (5.13)
Evans: 4-5, 4 singles, K (.252)
Brown: 2-4, HR (3), single, 4 RBI (.238)
Patchett: 2-3, singles, RBI, K (.250)
Budde: 1-4, HR (2), RBI, 2 K (.182)
Pettit: 2-5, 2 singles, K (.415)

Double-A: Arkansas 0, Tulsa 4

Mendoza: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (3.68)
Trumbo: 2-3, 2 singles, BB (.230)
Nieves: 1-2, single, BB (.217)

High-A Ball: Rancho Cucamonga 4, High Desert 3

Fish: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, HR, 2 HBP (5.53)
Colmenares: 1-3, single, BB (.343)
Walker: 1-3, single, K, HBP (.310)
Sweeney: 1-3, HR (5), 2 RBI, 2 BB, K (.308)

Low-A Ball: (Doubleheader) - Cedar Rapids 2, Wisconsin 4

Smith: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (6.00, 18 strikeouts in 15 inn)
Amarista: 2-2, double, single, BB (.351)
Jacobo: 1-3, single, RBI (.254)

Game 2: Cedar Rapids 5, Wisconsin 3

Thorne: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, WP (2.66)
Amarista: 2-2, triple, single, BB, RBI (.351)
Crawford: 1-3, single, K (.246)
Brooks: 1-2, single, BB, K (.286)
Townsend: 1-3, single, K (.182)
De Los Santos: 1-3, RBI, 2 K (.256)
Younger: 2-3, 2 singles, 2 RBI, K (.267)

It may have took over 4 hours but the Angels put away the Boston Red Sox in 12 innings yesterday at the "Big A" 5-4. Jeff Mathis was the hero of the day with the walk off hit, but also taking control defensively in the top of the 12th recording the 3rd out on a squib hit by David Ortiz. It was one of those plays we've seen too many times already this season where one of the Angels pitchers has zinged the ball into RF and cost the Angels the game. Mathis' offense is much improved so far this season hitting a robust .524 with runners on and .438 with runners is scoring position.

Ervin Santana had a successful return to the team pitching 5 solid innings giving up 3 runs. And Torii Hunter made yet another dramatic game saving catch, robbing Dustin Pedroia of extra bases, keeping the game tied in the 10th inning.

The Angels seem to be closing in on a minor league deal with reliever Rudy Seanez. The 40 year old won a World Series with the Phillies last year and impressed Mike Scioscia this morning.

Bill Shaikin also reports Vladimir Guerrero will take live batting practice today in Texas. If all goes well it's possible he could return as the DH in 10-14 days.

Bobby Abreu still has a zero in the home run column for 2009, but Mickey Hatcher says the home runs will come. Abreu has still been productive despite not having taken the tour yet this year. And remember fans it could always be worse, we could have David Ortiz...

Steve Bisheff pleads the case for Brandon Wood joining the Angels. It's hard to argue with as Wood's numbers have been down right sick, .351/.439/.877 OPS 1.316 with eight home runs in 57 at-bats for the Bees.

Next up - Angels @ Texas


Joe Saunders (5-1, 2.66 ) vs. Kevin Millwood (3-3, 2.92 era )
TV: FS-W, 5:05 PM

John Lackey (0-0, --) vs. Vincente Padilla (2-2, 4.97 era)
TV: FOX 11, 1:05 PM

Jered Weaver (3-1, 2.45) vs. Scott Feldman (2-0, 4.85 )
TV: KCOP 13, 11:05 AM

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wednesday night Matt Palmer went the distance against Boston in the Halos 8-4 victory. After a rough first two innings Palmer settled down and struck out 8 Red Sox. Meanwhile the offense teed off on Tim Wakefield for seven runs. Torii Hunter and Mike Napoli homered again in the victory.

This afternoon Ervin Santana will make his season debut for the Angels after starting the season on the disabled list.

Bobby Abreu has been a productive member of the Angels offense, however he is still yet to hit his first home run of the season. The Angels aren't worried.

A couple of the reasons Brandon Wood is being kept at AAA Salt Lake, number one is Mike Scioscia sees Wood as a third baseman and not a short stop, thus Scioscia is not willing to move Erick Aybar or Macier Izturis out of the position. The other reason and a more valid one, is there is no reasonable replacement in the lead off spot if Chone Figgins is not in the lineup.

However, currently Abreu has a higher on base percentage at .397 (Figgins is at .345), has more walks than strikeouts and is also 13-0 in stolen base attempts is more than a reasonable replacement for Figgins if not an upgrade. .

With the Angels 26th out of 30 MLB clubs in homers, Brandon Wood destroying AAA pitching, Figgins in his walk year and the bullpen struggling it's something to think about, especially when Vladimir Guerrero returns.

Roster notes -

To make room for Santana, the Angels optioned Rafael Rodriguez to AAA Salt Lake.

With Matt Palmer sporting a 4-0 record with a 3.06 era and 0.97 whip he has secured a rotation spot. Shane Loux will be shifted to the bullpen to accommodate the return of John Lackey on Saturday.

Rudy Seanez has also been signed to a minor league contract.

The Angels close out the home stand against Boston at 12:35 pm

TV - Fox Sports West
Radio KLAA AM830, KFWB & KWKW 1130

Ervin Santana (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Brad Penny (3-1, 6.90 ERA)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Brandon Wood is putting fear into the eyes of opposing Triple-A pitchers

Triple-A: Salt Lake 13, Omaha 12

MacDonald: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, HR (6.40)
Pettit: 2-4, HR(2), single, 2 RBI, BB, K (.415)
Sandoval: 3-4, 2 doubles, single, RBI, BB, K (.316)
Brown: 2-4, double, single, 3 RBI, BB (227)
Wood: 3-4, 2 HR's (8), double, 3 RBI, BB (.351)
Rodriguez: 2-4, 2 singles (.255)
Pavkovich: 2-5, 2 doubles, 2 RBI (.274)

Double-A: Arkansas 2, Tulsa 3

Anton: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, HBP (4.55)
Trumbo: 2-4, 2 singles, K (.218)
Statia: 2-4, 2 singles (.188)

High-A Ball: Rancho Cucamonga 3, High Desert 7

Kiely: 7 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, HR (4.43)
Romine: 2-5, 2 singles, K (.278)
Sweeney: 1-3, HR (4), RBI, BB (.308)
Perez: 2-4, 2 singles (.288)
Navarro: 2-4, double, single, RBI, K (.322)
Estrella: 1-3, single, RBI, BB (.279)
Phillips: 2-4, 2 singles (.209)

Low-A Ball: Cedar Rapids 3, Wisconsin 2

Chaffee: 6 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 2 HBP, 3 WP (3.43)
Amarista: 1-2, single, BB (.327)
Auer: 1-3, single, BB, 2 K (.252)
Crawford: 1-3, single, BB, 2 K (.250)
Bailey: 1-2, triple, RBI, BB (.294)
Younger: 2-3, triple, single, RBI, K (.256)

By Adam Dodge - Senior Writer

In the Mike Scioscia era, the most successful time in Angels’ history, there has been one consistent force that has driven the Angels to victory. Over the past nine years and change, the offense has been up and down. Despite being the strength of the team over the past several seasons, dominant starting pitching hasn’t always been there, either. The bullpen, however, has been one of the best in the Major Leagues year in and year out dating back to 2002.

For the 2009 Angels to be successful beyond the regular season, their bullpen must once again perform at an elite level.

Through 31 games this season the bullpen has been anything but elite; in fact, it has been the team’s most glaring weakness. With a combined record of 2-9, this group of relievers can be pegged as the reason the Angels do not have a comfortable five game lead on the rest of the division and instead are trailing the first place Texas Rangers by a game and a half.

After another gutty performance by starting pitcher Jered Weaver was ruined last night by the Halo crash-and-burn crew, fans and media members have united to ask one question: Why didn’t Mike (Scioscia) leave Weaver out there for one more inning? Weaver had gone seven innings, allowing just one run. His pitch count was rising, but at 98 he was certainly capable of pitching to three more hitters.

Instead, Scioscia chose to go to the ‘pen and the put the game in the hands of the unit that has caused the most grief to Angels fans this season.
And I contend he made the right call.

For the Angels to reach their ultimate goal, it will take a 25-man effort. The six gentlemen who spend most of their time beyond the left field wall, eating sunflower seeds and trading putting tips, will at some point be called upon to carry the other 19 players to late season and postseason victories. It isn’t often that players experience success in September and October after failing throughout the first five months of the season — and without an opportunity there can be no accomplishment.

So, as one who manages for 162 games rather than just one, Scioscia, faced with a situation that is seemingly destined to arrive on a chilly fall night, against the same Red Sox his team was battling in mid-May, gave a two-run lead to his bullpen with six outs to get.

That they failed is certainly disappointing to a tough luck Weaver and to the fans who were forced to go through the pain of another late inning meltdown. But to Scioscia and the front office, who have the job of fielding the team and placing the players in the roles that will give the organization and its fan base the best chance at celebrating on the final night of the season, it gives them the information they need to make critical decisions moving forward.

Nothing in sports is as valuable as experience.

If Jose Arredondo, Darren Oliver and Scot Shields are going to be called upon to go through the heart of the Boston line-up in October, Scioscia has to give them the opportunity to do it now.

From the perspective of Tony Reagins and the front office, allowing players the chance to succeed or fail is also important. With the trade deadline just more than two months away, they need to know which areas need improvement. After last night, we can only assume that another check mark was placed next to “bullpen.”

Looking back, Weaver could have gone out for the eighth inning and held the lead. Brian Fuentes could have closed the Red Sox out in the ninth and the Angels would have been three games over .500. However, one can only hide a wound so long before it is exposed. Attending to it early gives it the best chance to heal.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

By Adam Dodge - Senior Writer

I was fortunate enough to catch up with the King Fish last Thursday night before I headed to New York for the weekend. We let you know about his event on Saturday, May 9th at Angel Stadium, last week. Here is the entire interview, uncut. What are your thoughts on this year’s Angels team, especially considering all of the tough things that have gone on in the first month of the season?

Tim Salmon: Well, I think it is kind of a fortunate situation in that I don’t think the division is that strong; I don’t think the other teams in the division are going to be able to take advantage of some of the issues the Angels are facing, playing .500, basically. I think that when some of the guys get back and healthy again, it’s going to be real tough on the rest of the division. So, do you see the Angels running away with the division when it is all said and done?

Tim Salmon: I think so. While Oakland has improved a little bit and Seattle has improved, I still don’t think it will be enough. The Angels still have the bulk of the season to make up for what’s gone on early. I think the key is going to be getting Lackey back and Santana back strong to really anchor the starting rotation, which is going to make the difference over the course of the season. And then, of course, Vladdy coming back is going to be huge, too. Barring any further setbacks to some of the other guys, I think they’re in good shape, but anything can happen. Speaking of “anything can happen,” the Angels won a World Series in 2002. How often do you think about the team’s great run that season? Is it something you think about every day? And how does it make you feel still today?

Tim Salmon: I don’t know if I think about it every day, but quite often, if I’m being introduced to someone, somebody tends to bring it up, which is constantly a reminder. But you know, they’re terrific memories sitting on this side of retirement; definitely one of those feats you’re very proud of. You feel very fortunate when you look back to not only play in a World Series, but to win a World Series. I can imagine. The second home run you hit in Game Two — is that the standout memory for you?

Tim Salmon: Yeah, I think so. If you look at that team, every guy on the team had a moment during the playoffs where they shined and help the team win. It was definitely a 25-man effort. And World Series Game Two was my shining moment. I look back at that and am amazed that it actually happened because those are the things you dream about as a kid. To see it actually happen the way it did, I couldn’t have scripted it any better. The fact that it was Game Two and it helped us get that first win under our belt makes it mean all the much more to me. Everything about that World Series was awesome. When you come out on the winning end, there’s not much you can look back on in a negative light. Moving on to your last game as an Angel, on Oct. 1, 2006, against the A’s, were you trying to hit a homer in every at-bat to get to 300?

Tim Salmon: (laughs) For sure. I have always taken pride in the fact that I never gave away at-bats. I always took what they gave me and always just tried to make good contact — you know, hit it where it’s pitched. Probably the most disappointing thing about it was that day I really felt like I was expanding it a little bit. I was trying to do a little too much. I’ve never been a hitter who could hit a home run on cue. Looking back, though, the results could have been the same just by (taking my normal approach) and maybe I’d be sitting here saying “maybe I should have tried to swing harder.” You could sit here and second guess it, but I gave it a good effort. It’s funny because you think about that season and I played the first six weeks of the year just about every day and then pretty much became a bench guy the whole year. If you would have asked me in May — when I think I had six home runs by the end (of the month) — I would have easily gotten 10 home runs. But I hit that spot when Juan Rivera got back where I didn’t see very many at-bats Could you feel the fans really pulling for you that day? Did you feed off the energy in the park?

Tim Salmon: Oh yeah, for sure. I was very much aware of everything. Usually when you’re playing you’re sort of in a zone and you block out a lot of that, but the emotions were running so high that day. It was my last game ever and I knew it. Everything from waking up in the morning to driving to the ballpark for the last time — I mean all that stuff was very heavy on my heart and the way I played and everything the fans were giving, I was very much aware of it. To have the spotlight on you, you know, it’s funny; in my own small way I experienced what Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds experienced during those home run chases. It is really difficult based on my one day experience (laughs) to be in that kind of environment, where the emotions and adrenaline are running so high, to keep that in check and do what you normally do. It is very easy to get into that mode of trying to do too much. It didn’t work out. You know, 300 is a nice round number, but 299 actually gives me a better story to tell. And if I recall, Reggie Willits made the final out in the 10th with you standing on deck. Were you thinking of changing your approach going into that potential last at-bat?

Tim Salmon: I was a little bit, because in my previous at-bat, I came up in the bottom of the ninth with a runner on third and less than two (outs) to win the game. I maybe got a little bit too long and I popped up to shortstop. And I remember being so disappointed that I thought “You know, forget the home run; you have a chance to win the game in your last at-bat.” I was really disappointed about that because it would have been more meaningful to me to say that my last professional at-bat contributed to the team winning. The whole time I was on deck I kept thinking “Forget the home run. Get back to basics. Take what they give you.” I was certainly in a different frame of mind than in my previous four at-bats. How gratifying was it for you to play your entire career for one franchise, especially now that you see guys like GA, Ersty and Percy playing in other uniforms?

Tim Salmon: Very gratifying. I feel very blessed. I go all the way back to Joe Maddon, the guy that signed me, in my house when I was in college. From the very beginning, I had that relationship with the Angels. Especially now as a retired player, to have that association with the club means so much more. You know, Garret (Anderson) should have that association. Finishing out the way he will over the next year or two, I think he is deserving of a little bit more than that. The way I went out is the way that Percy, Ersty or Garret, the way they all should have went out. As a player, what was it like for you to face a former teammate? Was it weird? A blast? If I recall correctly you homered off of Chuck Finley in your first at-bat against him.

Tim Salmon: I actually hit a couple of home runs off of him. After all those years playing behind him, I always looked at him as a pitcher as someone who, oh boy, he’d be tough to face. I had all these great feelings of admiration and respect for his talent and lo and behold the first game I hit a home run off of him. Oh my gosh. And I ended up hitting two, maybe three home runs off of him over the years I faced him. It just surprised me. Everyone asked me about it. I don’t know; maybe I had an intuitive feel for how he was going to pitch me. Maybe I just had a good feel for the way he worked and I incorporated that into my game plan. I always approached it with the respect and admiration for the players I played behind. I never went up there feeling like I was trying to hit a home run. It just happened. You just cut around that bases going “Man, how’d that happen?” Finally, what are you doing to stay busy now that you’re retired?

Tim Salmon: Along the lines of the reason I called, one of the things I can do now that I’m retired are some active things I couldn’t do as a player. I’m a big power sports enthusiast. I love riding my quad, my motorcycles and dirt bikes — things like that — boating and Sea-Doos. I wouldn’t say I’m a gear head; I’m just making up for lost time. There are a lot of fun things out there.

I’m actually involved right now with the marketing of the Spyder Roadster. I had a chance to ride it and it is pretty awesome. And we’ll be out at the stadium on Saturday for fans to come and test ride it. I’ll be available for pictures and autographs.

The thing that is really neat about this is you can just use a normal driver’s license. For novice, for beginner types, your wife for example, it is very much something they can jump on and get a feel for and actually get out on the road and drive it. It’s pretty simple to do. If you’ve ever ridden a Sea-Doo or a quad, you know what I’m talking about. The overall comfort sitting on thing really makes you feel like you’re on control. It is very much like that and it’s a street bike. So for those of us who aren’t comfortable riding street bikes, this is a nice alternative. I know you have the Tim Salmon Foundation. When is your next event?

Tim Salmon: We had our golf tournament in February. We’re going to push back the date next year to July. I had always done it February because I had to get it in before I broke for Spring Training and there is always an issue of weather and things like that. Now that I am retired, we can do it any time of the year and now it will pretty much be guaranteed that we’ll have a nice day out and we can make it a great day for all of our guests and sponsors. Even the charities, the kids involved, they wouldn’t be in school then, so we can get them a little more involved. And can you remind our readers with which charities you’re aligned and what they do?

Tim Salmon: Yeah. The two charities are local Orange County charities. One is called Laurel House, which is a teenage crisis home where teens in crisis can be plugged out of their home for up to six months. These are troubled teens. The other (charity) is called Canyon Acres, which is foster care for those kids who have fallen through the cracks with parents who have had a tough time. I worked with these charities for 10 years as a player and have continued to do so since I retired and it has been good.

Check out the Spyder Roadster -
You can visit Tim’s foundation at
Laurel House -
Canyon Acres -

Hank Conger tops the Prospect Hotlist this week with a red hot bat

By David Saltzer - Columnist

This week we're about three days behind schedule with our list due to a busy weekend of traveling, Mother's Day and some tasks that needed to be taken care of on Monday & Tuesday of this week. Typically we go from Monday to Monday each week, but we’re about 10 days out from our last Hot Prospect List, so we’ll be using the stats for the past 10 games. Once again, we present our list of the Angels Hot Prospects.

Hot Prospects May 13, 2009

1. Hank Conger, C, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Games: 14/37 (378), 3 Doubles, 0 Triple, 1 HR, 5 Runs, 6 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: .307/.363/.404 with 2 HRs and 2 SBs

What’s Up: After getting off to a slow start, Conger’s bat is heating up. We knew his offense would return because he dominated at this level during the playoff run last year. But the bigger story is that Conger is playing regularly behind the plate. He’s caught 8 out of the past 10 games, and added in an extra game as the team’s DH during the 2nd game in a double-header. That’s the best news for him because Scioscia wants catchers who can catch as well as they hit. Conger’s power will continue to develop, so we’re not so worried about the lack of HRs to date. We're getting good reports on Conger's defense behind the plate as well.

2. Trevor Reckling, LHP, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Days: 2-0, 0 Saves, 1.37 ERA, 19.2 IP, 13 H, 7 BB, 16 K, 1.02 WHIP
Overall: 4-2, 0 Saves, 1.01 ERA, 44.2 IP, 25 H, 13 BB, 36 K, 0.85 WHIP, 160 BAA

What’s Up: T-Rex is pitching like a dominant predator. At just 19 years old, he’s eating up the Texas League like no one else. He’s the league leader in ERA and WHIP. All 4 of his starts for the Travelers have been quality starts. As his manager said about him “He finds ways to make pitches . . . it’s all about attitude . . . I’ve been talking about attitude for a while now, and it’s just your attitude on that mound, and that’s what he’s got.” T-Rex is definitely becoming a special pitcher and a regular on the weekly Hot Prospect List.

3. Gabriel Jacobo, 1B, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 14/40 (350), 3 Doubles, 1 Triple, 1 HR, 7 Runs, 10 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: .269/.322/.398 with 2 HRs and 1 SBs

What’s Up: In a rare feat, Jacobo hit for the cycle in a rain-split game on May 8th and 9th. This was the first time Jacobo hit for the cycle as a pro. Although Jacobo got off to a slow start, he’s been making some adjustments at the plate and becoming more of a patient hitter. Already he’s walked 8 times in 108 ABs, whereas last year he walked all of 11 times in 275 ABs. As he struggled to start the season, he struck out quite a bit, but has settled down much more. He’s only struck out 4 times in the past 10 days while walking 3 times. With his former teammate Roberto Lopez now hitting in front of him, Jacobo should start to see some better pitches and his numbers should continue to rise.

4. Steven Geltz, RHP, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Days: 1-0, 0 Saves, 1.35 ERA, 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 0.45 WHIP
Overall: 1-0, 0 Saves, 1.35 ERA, 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 0.45 WHIP, 100 BAA

What’s Up: Signed with the Angels in 2008 out of SUNY-Buffalo, Geltz is an up-and-coming reliever who’s been exhibiting a lot of control. Last year he pitched for the AZL Angels and Orem and posted a 36:9 K:BB ratio in 26.1 innings. Like Miller below, Geltz deserved to be on here based on his work prior to May 12th (where he gave up 1 run in 1 IP), so we kept him on here. Even with that one bad inning, Miller has been lights out compared to the bullpen in Anaheim. He’s keeping the ball on the ground posting a 1.75 GO/AO rate, which is good for many of the small fields in the league.

5. Carlos Colmenares, OF, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Games: 11/25 (440), 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 0 HR, 2 Runs, 3 RBIs, 1 SB
Overall: .271/.333/.341 with 0 HRs and 6 SBs

What’s Up: For the past few games, it seems like Carlos has been on base in every AB. He’s had a 4 for 4 game and a 4 for 5 game all while hitting in the bottom half of the Quakes’ lineup. This switch-hitting Venezuelan doesn’t have blazing speed or overwhelming power. But, what he does have is a very hot week and earned a spot on this week’s Hot Prospect List.

6. Trevor Bell, LHP, Class AA Arkansas Travelers
Past 10 Days: 1-1, 0 Saves, 2.37 ERA, 19.0 IP, 16 H, 3 BB, 18 K, 1.00 WHIP
Overall: 3-1, 0 Saves, 2.25 ERA, 36.0 IP, 30 H, 10 BB, 27 K, 1.11 WHIP, 221 BAA

What’s Up: This is a totally different year for Trevor Bell compared to last year. He’s 3rd in the league in ERA and WHIP and tied for 6th in the League in Ks. He held the divisional leading Springfield Cardinals to 1 run on Monday night to help the Travelers halt a 5-game losing streak. That was no small feat as the Cardinals were 2nd in the league in BA, OB and RBIs. At 22, Bell appears to be back on track to making the majors as a starter.

7. Chris Pettit, OF, Class AAA Salt Lake Bees
Past 10 Games: 15/41 (366), 5 Doubles, 0 Triples, 0 HRs, 7 Runs, 10 RBIs, 3 SBs
Overall: .412/.452/.588 with 1 HR and 8 SBs

What’s Up: It’s a pretty rare feat when a .366 average actually LOWERS your overall BA for the season. But, when you’re leading the PCL in BA, that’s what happens when you have a “mini-slump.” Pettit is wasting no time making up for last year and is positioning himself to be a strong contender for a corner OF spot next year in Anaheim. While he’s only hit 1 HR, he’s leading the league with 15 doubles and is one of the league leaders in just about every other category. Lately he’s been hitting 2nd for the Bees and could have a future in the top of the order.

8. Alexi Amarista, 2B, Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 10 Games: 12/40 (300), 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 0 HRs, 6 Runs, 6 RBIs, 5 SBs
Overall: .324/.416/.486 with 0 HRs and 12 SBs

What’s Up: We had a big debate as to what is Alexi’s real first name. Although several sources list it as Alexia, we’re going with the information from one of our members, Cubsphil, who tells us that at the games, they introduce him as Alexi. So, we’re going to go with that from now on. Either way Alexi is still showing tremendous plate discipline (he has 15 BBs and only 10 Ks), developing power (9 doubles and 4 triples), good fielding (he’s only made 3 errors in 28 games) and good speed. He’s 4th in the Midwest League in SBs, 9th in the league in OB, 11th in the league in BA and 12th in the league in SLG. Overall, that puts him at 8th in the league for OPS and definitely on our radar for players to watch.

9. Matt Sweeney, 3B, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Games: 11/34 (324), 4 Doubles, 0 Triple, 0 HRs, 6 Runs, 5 RBIs, 1 SBs
Overall: .307/.378/.500 with 3 HRs and 2 SBs

What’s Up: Prior to the start of the season, when asked about Matt Sweeney, Abe Flores, Director of Player Development for the Angels said that he wanted to see how Sweeney would move and react on the field and in game situations. Well, so far, it appears that all is going well for Sweeney. Batting cleanup for the Quakes, he’s leading the team in doubles and total bases. He’s 2nd on the team in RBIs and BBs. As for his fielding, he’s only given up 3 errors in 29 games while manning the hot corner.

10. Jayson Miller, LHP, Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 10 Days: 1-0, 0 Saves, 3.55 ERA, 12.2 IP, 19 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 1.57 WHIP
Overall: 2-2, 0 Saves, 2.50 ERA, 36.0 IP, 41 H, 4 BB, 26 K, 1.25 WHIP, 289 BAA

What’s Up: The California League is a well-known hitters’ league. It has a way of distorting many pitching stats, and often does so in 1 game, so it’s not always fair to judge a pitcher in the league by just the usual stats. Like Geltz above, Miller deserved to be on this list for his starts on April 30th and May 5th, so we kept him on here even though he was roughed up a bit more on May 10th (and also deleted his stats from the April 30th game where he gave up 1 run in 5.1 IP). If Miller had enough IP to qualify, he’d be tied for 3rd in ERA for the league. Miller’s control has been quite spectacular (a 26:4 K:BB ratio) and he’s quietly working his way up the depth chart as another left-handed option.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Here's some pictures I took of Santana, the Angels prospects on the Bees ballclub and some of the Portland Beavers squad. The Angels Triple-A affiliate won the game 6-2, so it was well worth the 3 hour drive down and back all in the same day for my son and I.


Trevor Bell throws a gem on Monday. 7 IP, 1 ER, 9 strikeouts

Triple-A: Salt Lake 4, Portland 13

O'Sullivan: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 WP (6.65)

Sandoval: 1-4, double, 2 RBI, K (.290)

Brown: 1-3, double, BB, K (.205)

Rodriguez: 1-3, single, BB, K (.225)

Double-A: Arkansas 7, Springfield 1

Bell: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K (2.25)

Bourjos: 2-5, 2 singles, K (.269)

Conger: 3-4, double, 2 singles, RBI, HBP (.300)

Trumbo: 1-4, HR (3), RBI, 2 K (.196)

Mount: 2-4, double, single, BB (.271)

Sutton: 2-4, 2 singles, 2 RBI, BB, K (.267)

Statia: 0-0, 2 BB, HBP, 2 RBI (.177)

High-A Ball: No Game

Low-A Ball: No Game

Torii Hunter's catch on Sunday, May 10th (Mothers' Day) was one of the finest I've seen in some time. If you consider the ground he made up to get to the ball, let alone the leap in the air and over the fence to pull it back, which preserved a 1 run lead in the top of the 9th secured in the hands of Angels' closer Brian Fuentes - it was one of the greatest moments & catches in Angels Baseball

If you haven't seen it yet, check out the video clip on the Angels official website here.

There is discussion on the message board about this same very catch and how it stacks up against some of the better catches in Angels history. What do you think? does this top the Erstad catch against the Yankees in left field? How about the over the shoulder and running catch & dive by Jim Edmonds in Kansas City, or the Fred Lynn and Brian Downing crash against the wall in '82 against the division rival KC Royals? Cast your vote on our forum today!

The Angels completed an exciting three game sweep of the Royals over the weekend at Angels Stadium and now are riding a four game winning streak.

Game one saw Matt Palmer once again pitch lights out in the teams 4-1 victory. The highlight of the night was Howie Kendrick's inside the park HR courtesy of former Angel Jose Guillen.

Saturday night Angel fans saw a marquee match up when Zack Greinke and his microscopic ERA hooked up with Joe Saunders in the best pitching duel the Angels have seen all season. Chone Figgins drove home a run with a sacrifice fly and that was all Joe needed as he threw his first big league complete game shut out. Angels win 1-0.

It's was Mother's Day on Sunday and Torii Hunter who the crowd home happy. Hunter's spectacular catch, robbing Miguel Olivo of a home run in the 9th inning preserved the Halos 4-3 victory.

Scot Shields looked good over the weekend. His struggles early on could be due to tendinitis in his knee.

Roster Report

After the Sunday's game the Angels optioned Anthony Ortega back to Triple A Salt Lake. With Mike Napoli seeing more time at DH it's likely Mike Scioscia will bring up a third catcher (most likely Bobby Wilson).

Los Angeles will use Jered Weaver, Matt Palmer and Joe Saunders vs Boston this week. If all goes according to plan, expect to see John Lackey and Ervin Santana activated for Friday and Saturday's games in Texas.

Kelvim Escobar who threw a simulated game on Friday will start a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday in Arizona.

Mike Scioscia says Vladimir Guerrero will be used as the DH when he returns to the line in about two or three weeks.


Justin Masterson (2-2, 5.28) vs. Jered Weaver (3-1, 2.66)
Tim Wakefield (4-1, 2.93) vs. Matt Palmer (3-0, 3.06)
Brad Penny (3-1, 6.90) vs. Joe Saunders (5-1, 2.66)

By Coral Marshall - Columnist

Angels fans recently received good news; not just that the club had finally reached the .500 mark, but that starters John Lackey and Ervin Santana are making great progress in their rehabilitation starts and that Vladimir Guerrero has been cleared to take swings. With all this good news, it seems odd that fans should have any apprehension, but the question on the minds of many is what will happen when these guys come back, and more pointedly, what will happen behind the plate when they come back?

As fans know, Mike Scioscia has committed himself to the ways of Casey Stengel in the platoon system between Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis he has implemented at the catching position.

While it has long been said that Mathis is the better defensive catcher, Napoli has been showing off his strength with the bat, clubbing five home runs in 70 at-bats through Friday's victory over the Kansas City Royals.

With Vladdy gone, Scioscia has been able to keep Mathis in the game defensively while having Napoli DH, but what happens when Guerrero comes back?

Clearly, Napoli's bat is too valuable to disregard, but the Angels' outfield has begun to step up, and with Bobby Abreu, Gary Mathews Jr. and Torii Hunter all hitting, and all realizing that playing time could be on the line once Guerrero comes back, there is a strong question of what to do. With only three outfield positions, a catching position and a designated hitter's spot in the lineup, the basic math doesn't add up when there are more than six deserving guys in question (this doesn't even include Juan Rivera).

On certain days it seems likely that Napoli will catch despite Mathis' defensive prowess. Lackey, for example, seems much calmer when Napoli is behind the plate, which is absolutely key when it comes to such an emotional pitcher.

But what about the days when Lackey doesn't pitch? Napoli's bat is too hot to have him sit on the bench, but Vlad is paid way too much (and far too reliable) to not be in the lineup.

Another issue, which Rex Hudler brought up after Friday night's game, regarding batting both catchers in the lineup at once is the risk of injury. If Napoli and Mathis were to sustain an injury at the same time, the Angels' backup catcher is Robb Quinlan, who Angels' fans are more familiar seeing at first base than behind the plate. While the DH position does not seem to produce many injuries, there is a reason teams carry more than one catcher at a time — it is an exhausting and injury-prone position that not everyone can play, and more importantly very few can play well.

It seems likely that despite all of this Napoli will stay in the lineup, more than likely at the DH spot, as before Friday's game he was batting .727 as the designated hitter. Overall, Napoli's statistics are impressive; he is finally coming into his own, sporting a 1.027 slugging pct. which is among the AL's best and the team-leading on-base percentage at .435 which is good for 4th in the AL. In the game of baseball, the numbers simply don't lie and Napoli's bat is a necessity if the Angels want to make it to the top of their division.

At the end of the day, Napoli is proving himself in an over crowded organization with not enough spots in the lineup for the number of quality players on the roster, leaving fans to ask the necessary question of which outfielder will be ousted when Guerrero comes back? With Matthews Jr. having plated 12 RBI (tied with Abreu and beating out Rivera by four) that decision looks even more difficult than it did before the season.

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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