We’ll lead off with another new feature “Dodge Ball Daily“, where our very own Adam Dodge gives his take on various issues regarding the Angels.
In Tempe this afternoon, John Lackey made his first start of the spring and pitched two perfect innings, striking out a batter. Jeff Mathis got the zero out of the Angels home run column with two blasts today. Brandon Wood added one for good measure as well. Follow Bill Plunkett’s live Spring Training “From The Dugout” blog over at the OC Register. It’s quite an entertaining feature.
There is very encouraging news regarding pitcher Kelvim Escobar’s recovery from off-season surgery. The hard throwing right hander appears to be well ahead of schedule and could return to the Angels as soon as May. If Escobar is able to return to form it will give the Angels another weapon as they try to defend their AL West Championship. It will also allow GM Tony Reagins to relax and not feel forced to make a deal for another pitcher when the Angels might not necessarily be looking to trade.
The Oakland Athletics continue to have a strong off-season, already having added Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi, today they dipped back into the free agent pool and picked up SS and former Angel Orlando Cabrera.
Cabrera should be a nice addition to the A’s. They will be very strong up the middle with “OC” and Mark Ellis as their double play combination. Cabrera should also be an offensive upgrade over the oft injured Bobby Crosby. Billy Beane is also looking to bring in Nomar Garciaparra in addition to Cabrera. If Oakland’s rotation matures the AL West will not be a cake walk like it was in 2008.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick writes about the Angels struggles in October. He hits some interesting topics regarding what Bobby Abreu will bring to the table and asks how much Vladimir Guerrero has left in the tank. Be sure to check out the embedded podcast of Mike Scioscia’s appearance on the Colin Cowheard Show.
The Los Angeles Times fills us in on the newest Angel Brian Fuentes’s decision to skip the first round of the World Baseball Classic. Personally, I am not a big fan of the WBC concept and would prefer all Angels skip out on participating. Their number one concern should be getting ready for the upcoming season and not on an exhibition tournament. Players have the potential to over do it before they are 100% full strength and risk injuring themselves for the season where they’ll be needed the most.
ESPN the Magazine & Insider asks if the Halos have mismanaged their top prospects. (Registration needed).
And finally. Michael Becker at the Press-Enterprise does a Q&A with Angels owner Arte Moreno.