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.”
Sean Burnett was not dealing with a blister, in his mind or on the middle finger of his left hand.
Mike Scioscia seemed to disagree when he left right-hander Kevin Jepsen in to face A’s lefties John Jaso and Brandon Moss in the seventh inning with the southpaw Burnett available out of the bullpen. “Jeppy was the guy to get out of that inning,” Scioscia said, before mentioning Burnett’s blister.
Burnett said that there was no blister. Ever.
“It was more my nail came out of the bed” three days ago in Texas, he said. “It was a one-day thing. It happens all the time with my breaking ball … I was 100 percent.”
Burnett pitched Tuesday. He seemed healthy. He faced four batters in a scoreless eighth inning. Scioscia simply chose to save Burnett for the start of the eighth inning rather than the two-on, two-out situation in the seventh, citing the blister. It proved to be the wrong call.
Whether you attribute the Angels’ 9-5 loss to the Oakland A’s on Tuesday to Scioscia leaving in Jepsen too long, or to Jepsen for allowing two homers in the seventh inning, may be a matter of degrees. Six of one, half a dozen of another, there are still issues in the Angels bullpen. Right?
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.
Erick Aybar didn’t play, but the Dominican Republic advanced to the championship game of the World Baseball Classic on Monday by beating The Netherlands 4-1 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Miguel Tejada played third base for the DR, which eliminated the United States on Saturday in Miami. From the Associated Press:
Late lineup addition Moises Sierra hit a tying RBI double in the fifth, Jose Reyes added a go-ahead single two batters later and the Dominican Republic reached the WBC final with a 4-1 win against the Netherlands on Monday night.
Edwin Encarnacion had an RBI single as the undefeated Dominicans survived a rocky start from winner Edinson Volquez, who benefited from Sierra’s catch over the left-field wall in foul territory to end a first-inning threat.
”We didn’t try to make history,” Volquez said. ”We’re just trying to keep winning.’
We might see Aybar tomorrow. Here’s another look at his game-winning hit against the U.S. from Saturday, worth another look if only for the ridiculous called strike that preceded it: