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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Alexi Amarista makes a charge

By Mark Saxon

Maybe it's because he's only about 5-foot-7 (if that), but Alexi Amarista is easy to overlook. The Angels have bigger names -- like Jorge Cantu -- and plenty of bigger people going for one of their few at-large bench jobs, but Amarista is making the best case.

He's batting .349 with six extra-base hits and a team-leading 13 RBIs, plus he's capable of playing better defense, at more positions, than any of the other candidates.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia recently told reporters that Amarista is having an "incredible spring."

He's also easy to get behind. The 22-year old has an aggressive, scrappy style. He swings hard, a la Dustin Pedroia, far from content to let speed be his only asset. He hit a home run about 430 feet off Arizona's All-Star starter, Trevor Cahill, earlier this spring.

He's got a very sad back story: his father was murdered in a home-invasion robbery when Amarista was playing winter ball in Venezuela in November 2010. Amarista told MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez recently that he nearly quit baseball when he was 16 because so many scouts told him he was too small.


It only takes one guy to believe in you, which is as true now as it was then.