Angels trade Alberto Callaspo to the A’s for Grant Green.

The Angels have traded infielder Alberto Callaspo to the A’s for minor-league infielder Grant Green.

Green is playing for Triple-A Sacramento, where he is batting .325/.379/.500 with 11 home runs and 50 RBIs in 87 games. He was hitless in his only 15 at-bats for the A’s this season.

Callaspo was hitting .253 with five home runs and 36 RBIs as the Angels’ everyday third baseman. Last year he batted .252, the lowest batting average he’s had in a full season in his career. He is under contract through 2014 and the Angels could use the money saved to make multiple deals before tomorrow’s 1 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.

Callaspo originally came to the Angels in a July 2010 trade with the Kansas City Royals for Will Smith and Sean O’Sullivan.

Green attended Cal State Fullerton and Canyon High School in Anaheim. He was ranked as Baseball America’s 63rd-best prospect prior to the 2011 season.

Chris Nelson was pulled from the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees’ game against the Iowa Cubs, a strong indication that he will be recalled to take Callaspo’s spot on the 25-man roster.

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Salt Lake shuffle: Ryan Madson, Luis Jimenez, Kole Calhoun, Barry Enright in; Bill Hall out.

If you’ve flown between John Wayne airport and Salt Lake City at any point this season, your odds of bumping into an Angels player are pretty high. The Angels have been busy burning a path from Anaheim to their Triple-A affiliate, having used 36 batters and 20 pitchers this season — both tied for second in the league.

Sunday might have been the busiest day of them all.
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Kevin Jepsen, Ryan Madson and Erick Aybar give Angels a ‘pretty good team’ at extended spring training.

Kevin Jepsen, Erick Aybar and Ryan Madson are heading to Tempe, Arizona today to continue their rehab at extended spring training.

“Got a pretty good team there, sure,” manager Mike Scioscia said.

In each case, that’s a good sign for the Angels, but the timetable is different for each player’s recovery.
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Mike Trout is batting second, Alberto Callaspo first, as Angels shuffle lineup.

Alberto Callaspo

Albert Callaspo batted leadoff 12 times for the Angels in 2010, hitting .148 with a .179 on-base percentage. He returns to the top of the lineup Thursday. (Associated Press)

Mike Trout has one career start as the Angels’ number-two hitter.

Alberto Callaspo said he didn’t remember the last time he batted leadoff.

Yet that’s where they’ll be batting tonight against the Oakland A’s, and for the immediate future.

It was the first thing Angels manager Mike Scioscia was asked about in his pregame media scrum. The first thing he said in response: “I think it’s just really a common sense move.”

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Daily Distractions: Who’s the Angels’ number two? Braun implicated; Micah Owings converting; Candlestick exploding.

Alberto Callaspo

Who will replace Torii Hunter as the Angels’ No. 2 hitter?

There are bigger questions facing the club going into spring training – you or I could hit between Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and probably see some juicy fastballs – but by process of elimination we know it’ll be either Erick Aybar, Alberto Callaspo, Peter Bourjos, Howie Kendrick, Chris Iannetta or Mark Trumbo.

For what it’s worth, Aybar, Bourjos and Kendrick were all among the top 25 sacrifice bunters in the American League last year. Iannetta seems an unlikely choice, though his patience and power are above average for a catcher, while Trumbo has the best chance of replicating Hunter’s .313/.365/.451 slash line from a year ago.

Perhaps unwittingly, makes a strong endorsement today for Callaspo, who signed a two-year contract yesterday. Callaspo’s best skill at the plate – hitting to contact while avoiding strikeouts – is typically the skill that managers value most in their number-two hitter:

Even in his best years with the bat (2009 and 2011) his BABIP was only around .310. But avoiding strikeouts does a lot for a player’s bat. This is not because strikeouts are all that much different from regular outs. It is because putting the ball in play simply allows other things to happen. Callaspo does not get an exceptional number of hits on balls in play, and the hits he does get on contact usually do not go very far. He simply ends plate appearances with the ball going into play often enough that even given average (and below-average) rates of favorable outcomes, he is able to be close to average overall as a hitter (95 wRC+ career).

It’s something to think about as Spring Training approaches.

Which defunct ballpark, and which former National League MVP’s reputation, are getting blown up? Read on …

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Angels finalize two-year contract with Alberto Callaspo.

Alberto Callaspo signed a two-year deal worth approximately $9 million Tuesday, leaving the Angels’ expected opening-day lineup under contract for the next two seasons.Alberto Callaspo

Callaspo will earn $4.1 million next season and $4.88 million in 2014, the first year he was eligible to become a free agent. The 29-year-old batted .252 with 10 home runs and 53 RBIs in 2012, proving his worth mostly in the field. After the Angels briefly experimented with Mark Trumbo at third base, Callaspo was handed the starting job early in the season and turned in a .963 fielding percentage at third base – fifth in the American League.

A switch hitter, Callaspo moved up and down an ever-changing lineup in 2012. This year he may be the weak link but the Angels will probably take another year of .250 so long as Callaspo’s glove remains steady.

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