With the Tempe Angels – Day Two

Mike Anton struck out nine in six innings Saturday against the Phoenix A’s.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels of Tempe took the field today but couldn’t muster the offense to defeat the Phoenix A’s, who triumphed 3-0.

Kernels fans will be delighted to know that Peter Bourjos, Hank Conger and Ryan Mount were all in the lineup today as part of their rehab assignments, suggesting you’ll see them back in Cedar Rapids within a couple days. None of them hit safely though. Bourjos and Conger were 0-for-4, and Mount was 0-for-3. Conger struck out three times ā€” but keep in mind this was his first game in a couple months.

I shot video but won’t have the time to post highlight clips tonight. Besides, there really wasn’t much to highlight on the Angels side. Tempe managed only three singles.

The one positive was LHP Mike Anton, who started for the Angels. He struck out nine in six innings, allowing one run on two hits and two walks. At age 22, he’s old for this league, and according to manager Ty Boykin he hasn’t pitched in a couple years. Drafted in the 12th round by the Angels, I was pleasantly surprised to see his stuff. His fastball ā€” which according to Boykin is high 80s/low 90s ā€” has a wrinkle in it and he seems comfortable pitching high in the zone with it. Anton also has an effective curve, although from my uninformed perspective it looked like he’d drop his arm at times when throwing it.

The changeup, though, was the plus pitch Boykin mentioned in our interview (see below). Ty said it’s actually a screwball he throws to right-handed batters.

Former Angels shortstop **** Schofield is the Tempe hitting coach.

I shot video of Anton striking out the side in the second inning. I’ll post it when I can.

After the game, I recorded interviews with Boykin, hitting coach **** Schofield and first-round draft pick Jon Bachanov. The interviews are on the FutureAngels.com web site home page.

Boykin talks about a typical day here at Tempe Diablo. With games starting at 10:30 AM, early work can begin before 6:00 AM! He talks about Anton as well as a few other players I named.

If you’ve been following my site in recent months, you know I’ve been recording interviews with former Angels minor league players about their time in the system. Before today’s game, I interviewed **** Schofield, best known to Angels fans as the slick-fielding shortstop of the 1980s. We talked about his minor league years, 1981-1983, when conditions were far more primitive than they are now. Among the interesting tidbits is that his first manager when he reported to Idaho Falls in June 1981 was … Joe Maddon, currently the Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager.

Bachanov signed a little over a week ago. He said it’ll be about a month before he’s in game condition. If you listen to the interview, it sounds like Tom Kotchman really sold him on the Angels before the draft. A Tampa Bay scout told him they’d select him in the 2nd round; Jon then told Kotch, who I’m sure passed that along to Eddie Bane. So the Angels got him and Tampa Bay didn’t.

Anyway, time to crawl into bed. These 100+ degree games take a lot of you when you’re 50 years old. And we do it again tomorrow.


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