|ESPN.com: Spring 2009||[Print without images]|
|The Angels hope Bobby Abreu's patience at the plate will influence other players to follow his lead.|
“Second baseman Howie Kendrick, who has been hyped as a future batting champion, has yet to emerge as the second coming of Bill Madlock. Kendrick has visited the disabled list four times since April 2007 and has 163 big league strikeouts and only 30 walks. "Howie was a guy in the minor leagues who tore up fastballs and breaking balls," Hatcher said. "But in the minor leagues, they always threw breaking balls for strikes. In the majors, they bury breaking balls and make you chase them. He's getting a taste of that." Although Morales hit .404 with eight homers in the Dominican winter league, nothing else in his portfolio suggests he'll be a big power threat. If it's home runs Scioscia wants, he might consider giving less time to catcher Jeff Mathis and more to Mike Napoli, who went deep 20 times in 227 at-bats and slugged a whopping .586 last season. The wild card in the equation is former megaprospect Brandon Wood, who'll either have to crack the Opening Day roster or go back to Triple-A Salt Lake City for a third season. If Wood has a huge spring and wins the third-base job, that would force the Angels to shift Figgins to the outfield and exacerbate the traffic jam there. Scioscia, who signed a 10-year contract extension in January, has four weeks to find answers to some of the aforementioned questions and several months to resolve some others. Either way, the Angels would like to start making a little more noise. Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN.com. His book "License To Deal" was published by Rodale. Click here to order a copy. Jerry can be reached via e-mail.
We're certainly not proud of the way our team has performed in the playoffs, but it's important to keep moving forward. I think people take some things for granted. Division championships have kind of taken a backseat when people talk about what teams are achieving.” -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia