This ‘N That

The Angels played two exhibition games during their 1961 spring training at Indio against the PCL San Diego Padres.

On the way to Arizona, I stopped in Indio to find South Jackson Field. On February 5, I wrote that the Angels played two spring training games in Indio during their first spring training in 1961. The games were against the PCL San Diego Padres.

It’s likely the field doesn’t look much like it did 47 years ago, but the photo will give you a rough idea of the modest conditions for those exhibition games.

If today’s Angels were to barnstorm all over the Inland Empire during spring training, playing in towns like Indio, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario, they’d have to call out the riot squad to keep the crowd manageable. Back then, when the Inland Empire was sparsely populated and the Angels were definitely second-fiddle to the established Dodgers, their presence was probably considered a novelty and not much else.

I’ll be at minor league camp tomorrow for the Quakes/Kernels games. The weather forecast for the afternoon is a 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms. Hopefully the games don’t get banged, as the next two days have the Bees and Travs at home, so it’ll be my one chance to see the Quakes and Kernels.

(And with Casey Kotchman’s freaky bad luck, he’ll probably get struck by a bolt of lightning …)

The big news is that John Lackey is down with a triceps strain, and for the first time in his pro career will miss a start. News reports say he’s out at least a month.

Media speculation has Nick Adenhart a candidate for the Angels’ starting rotation, along with Dustin Moseley, Nick Green and Kasey Olenberger. I really think it’s a stretch to consider Nick the favorite, as he’s only 21 and yet to pitch above Double-A. He needs more experience. But neither do I think three or four big-league starts will "ruin" him, as some people on fan boards will inevitably claim. It’ll just be experience for him to take to Salt Lake.

In my mind, the likely scenario is Dustin Moseley moving into the rotation, which means the chances improve for two out of Jason Bulger, Darren O’Day and Rich Thompson to make the Opening Day bullpen. But Kelvim Escobar and Chris Bootcheck should be back by mid- to late-April, which would push Moseley back to the pen and two of those three back to Salt Lake.

Once again, I give thanks that the Angels GM didn’t give in to the instant gratification demands of certain fans and media scribes who wanted the Angels to flush all their depth for a "big bat." If Nick Adenhart and Ervin Santana had been dealt last winter, the Angels’ pitching staff would have some major problems and they’d probably have to make another move just for a short-term fix.

Bill Stoneman showed that patience pays off, and so far Tony Reagins is showing the same patience.

Before I go, let’s note Matt Brown’s performance today. Brownie homered in the bottom of the 8th to tie the game 4-4, then tripled in the bottom of the 10th and scored the winning run on a single by Juan Rivera. Matt tends to get overlooked because Brandon Wood is ahead of him, but he’s 4 for 12 with a homer and triple this spring in parent club games.

It should be interesting to see how the Salt Lake infield shakes out to start the season. If Wood is at shortstop, then Brown would be at 3B. But the Angels need to find a home for 3B Freddy Sandoval, and Sean Rodriguez is in the mix too. One should be the 2B, and there don’t seem to be any obvious first basemen unless Kendry Morales returns to Triple-A, so maybe Sandoval or Brown play some 1B. Brown also played some 2B in 2007.  Sean will probably become a roving agent of chaos to prepare him for the utility role envisioned throughout his career. Michael Collins will probably make a run at the 1B job too along with Matt Pali.

So guys will move around to get them experience, enhancing their opportunity to move up to Anaheim.


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