Notes from Tempe, Day 1

Angels Director of Player Development Abe Flores and minor league Field Coordinator Todd Takayoshi talk about … your guess is as good as mine.


If Forrest Gump had played minor league baseball, his mother might have said that life is like fall instructional league. You never know what you’re gonna get.

The instructs are in the final week, and the Tempe Diablo minor league complex has several scouts, both Angels employees and others, roaming the grounds. Apparently the Angels and other organizations are holding a tryout combine for independent players, evaluating them to see if they might sign someone for next year.

National crosschecker Ric Wilson and Western Supervisor Bo Hughes are here. Their names have appeared in media rumors as possible candidates for the Angels’ vacant scouting director job.

Five more games, and everyone goes home for the winter. Many of the players were drafted in June, but for others they’ve been playing ball since minor league spring training in March.

Also here is Loek Van Mil, acquired from the Minnesota Twins in the Brian Fuentes trade. Van Mil is very tall. 7’1″ and looks it. Also in camp are 6’7″ Johnny Hellweg and 6’7″ Alex Burkard. As one observer noted, it’s a good start for one heck of a basketball team.

I’m shooting a lot of photos and video, but much of it will have to wait until I return home to Florida this weekend. I’ve posted some photos below as a gesture of good faith. Hopefully I’ll see everyone before I leave.

Today’s starting lineup against the Oakland A’s:

1. Andrew Heid CF
2. Taylor Lindsey 2B
3. Eric Oliver 1B
4. Gabe Jacobo LF
5. Jose Jimenez DH
6. Kole Calhoun RF
7. Jeremy Cruz 3B
8. Carlos Ramirez C
9. Wendell Soto SS
P. Heath Nichols

Nichols was scheduled to pitch the first three. He was followed by A.J. Schugel, Kevin Johnson and Daniel Tillman.

Instructional league games don’t work like regular season games. Teams have the option to field 10-man lineups with two DHs, which the A’s did. A manager may call an end to an inning if his pitcher is struggling, which happened several times today. Even if the home team has won, the bottom of the 9th might be played to get in some extra work. That happened today too; the Angels had won 6-2 but Oakland wanted to play the bottom of the 9th. Okay. The Angels scored another run to make it 7-2, and their manager promptly called an end to the game. Take that.

Ryan Chaffee is the scheduled starter for tomorrow’s game against the Dodgers.

Here are the promised photos. Lots more, I assure you. They’ll show up eventually in the web site’s Digital Photo Gallery.

Starting pitcher Heath Nichols walks in from his bullpen warmup. Catcher Carlos Ramirez is on the left, and roving pitching coordinator Kernan Ronan is on the right.


Heath Nichols on the mound.


Gabe Jacobo makes a throw from left field. He was a first baseman for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes during the regular season.


Kole Calhoun hits a double.


A.J. Schugel relieved Heath Nichols with two outs in the top of the third.


Andrew Heid triples to drive in Carlos Ramirez.


Carlos Ramirez scores on the triple by Andrew Heid.


Carlos Ramirez is greeted by his teammates after scoring on the triple.


Kevin Johnson was the third Angels pitcher in the game.


Daniel Tillman pitched the final two innings to close the game.


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