Thursday, March 29, 2012
Things that are rapidly crystallizing
By Mark Saxon
* Spring training is unnecessarily long for hitters. The main guys in the Angels' lineup look absolutely ready for Opening Day. If anything, you wonder whether they might grow bored in this final week, exactly when you would want them to ramp up the intensity.
Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols combined for nine hits (and only made two outs) in an 11-8 win over the Kansas City Royals. The Angels hit three home runs and five doubles.
* Is Kendrys Morales going to be ready? Yeah, it looks like he's going to be OK. He's batting .625 in 16 at-bats and has already hit two home runs. He hit one batting right-handed Thursday and that's a good sign that he's locked in from both sides of the plate. He may not have done much running over the past two years, but he apparently has continued to take batting practice.
* 39-year-old reliever Jason Isringhausen looks like he'll make it. Thursday was a key date for him because it was his first back-to-back appearances (a key milestone for a reliever) and because the Angels pretty much had to decide if he was going to make the Opening Day by Thursday.
Part of it was Isringhausen's two perfect innings, part of it was attrition. Two other relievers, Bobby Cassevah and Michael Kohn, are going to start the season on the disabled list and the team sent Francisco Rodriguez to minor-league camp Thursday morning.
* A testy moment might have helped build a little team chemistry. The Angels looked more than a little upset after Kansas City pitcher Everett Teaford hit Peter Bourjos in the back after giving up three straight home runs, including tape-measure blasts by Morales and Mark Trumbo. Mike Scioscia spent a few minutes yelling at umpire Dana DeMuth, Bourjos gestured Teaford's way and many of the Angels were on the top step of the dugout watching intently.
It has been an easy, mellow spring, so maybe a little turmoil will help break the monotony and build a little team unity.