Angels starting pitcher Tommy Hanson throw to the Cleveland Indians during the first inning of a spring training baseball game in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday. (Chris Carlson/Associated Press)
Tommy Hanson is healthy and is scheduled to throw six innings and 80-90 pitches today.
It just won’t come in the Angels’ Cactus League game against the Chicago White Sox. He’ll pitch in a minor-league game instead, as manager Mike Scioscia wanted to ensure that Hanson, the Angels’ projected fifth starter, gets fully stretched out in his second-to-last start of the spring.
“We need to get him into a controlled environment,” Scioscia said. “It’s an important outing to get him into a little more — not only length as far as pitches — but innings. It’s difficult if you’re up to 90 pitches.”
The Angels and Yankees are discussing a trade that would send Vernon Wells to New York, according to multiple reports Sunday.
Wells, 34, is the Angels’ highest paid player at $49.3 million over the next two seasons. He also has a no-trade clause. John Heyman of CBSSports.com wrote on his Twitter account Sunday that Wells would waive the no-trade clause if the trade being discussed is consummated.
Few teams can consider eating Wells’ salary, but the Yankees have a historically big budget and the need for lineup help. Shortstop Derek Jeter isn’t expected to debut until April 6, Mark Teixeira until June and Alex Rodriguez until after the All-Star break.
Wells is not in the Angels’ lineup today against the San Francisco Giants.
Update, 4:17 p.m.: The deal is not official but Wells hinted that he’ll be in a Yankee uniform soon via Twitter:
In what amounted to a spring training bloodbath, the Angels cut nine players from their major-league camp roster Sunday.
Among the notable names sent out, Chad Cordero was reassigned to the Angels’ minor-league camp and right-hander Brad Mills was claimed off of outright waivers by the Texas Rangers.
Angels catcher Hank Conger made three throws to infielders in Thursday night’s exhibition game against the Texas Rangers. Two came on stolen base attempts at second; both runners were safe. The other came when Conger tried to pick off the runner at first base, starting a rundown that resulted in Leonys Martin being caught stealing, 2-3-4 in your scorebook.
It was only three throws and only an exhibition game in March.
And yet …
“It’s huge,” Conger said.
Bill Hall couldn’t stay healthy.
That might have been the only thing the multi-positional veteran couldn’t do for the Angels, but it was enough to earn his unconditional release on Friday.
The Angels had until Tuesday to decide whether to keep Hall in the organization at a cost of $100,000 or release him. They didn’t need that much time.
Hall had not appeared in a spring game since Feb. 27, when he injured his right quadriceps muscle. He hadn’t done any baseball activities since pulling his left calf muscle March 13 doing infield drills. Hall made only nine plate appearances this spring and the Angels simply couldn’t make the commitment.
The Angels still have an opening on the 40-man roster, and still could use a multi-positional infielder to replace Maicer Izturis. They have the option of re-signing Hall to a minor-league deal.
Manager Mike Scioscia said Friday that Erick Aybar will “probably get the first crack” at occupying the number two spot in the lineup when the Angels open the season April 1 in Cincinnati.
“I think that’s what our template is and hopefully we’ll get a little chemistry in the last week” of spring training, Scioscia said.
If it were a regular-season game, you’d be talking about it tomorrow. Josh Hamilton’s first game against the Rangers was overshadowed by a lot of things: a walkoff hit, a four-homer inning, a complete implosion by Jerome Williams and — stop the presses — three damn fine throws from behind home plate by Hank Conger.
But since it’s only spring training (checking my watch, yup, one more week…) it’s getting the postgame bullet-point treatment for posterity.
It seemed that manager Mike Scioscia was adding another boo-boo to the Angels’ list of injury concerns Tuesday when he revealed that slugger Albert Pujols was dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
In fact, Pujols has been dealing with the condition on and off for seven years.
“It comes and goes, feels good, then comes and goes,” he said.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, plantar fasciitis involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.
Pujols pledged to be smart about the condition and is trying orthotics this year for the first time, even though he’s been resistant in the past. Orthotics are custom-fitted arch support pieces that distribute pressure evenly around the foot.
“I think the whole reason it flared up this spring is because of my knee,” said Pujols, who underwent knee surgery last October.
Pujols will be the Angels’ designated hitter today against the Cleveland Indians after playing first base for the first time Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“Right now I’m just focused on keeping my knee strong,” he said.
For Chris Snyder, hanging on to a career in baseball means driving 100 miles per hour up Interstate 95 from the Washington Nationals’ spring training complex in Viera, Florida to Orlando International Airport, telling your wife and three kids to meet you back in Phoenix tomorrow, cramming to learn a new pitching staff in two weeks, and remembering to breathe in between.
The crazy thing is, Snyder knew it might happen.
“My family had just gotten down (to Florida) three, four days ago,” he said. “I told my wife, ‘don’t unpack too much because we might be going somewhere else, either down the road in Florida or in Phoenix.’ So we got word that the Nationals, the two guys they had — (Kurt) Suzuki and (Wilson) Ramos — they’re both good and they were going with them. They left it up to us to pursue other opportunities out here.”
Albert Pujols wasn’t tested much in his first spring training game at first base Tuesday. He caught four throws from infielders on groundouts. He shuffled his feet. He got into a deep crouch before every pitch. He looked like himself.
It wasn’t much, but it was enough for Pujols to declare himself ready to play first base on Opening Day, April 1 in Cincinnati.
“I feel ready to go if Opening Day was tomorrow,” he said.