Halo Headlines – 2/16/11

Daily Links for the LA Angels including Hatcher says Morales looks good and healthy, Kazmir improved his conditioning over the off-season, Scioscia opens the door for Rodney to lose the closer job (or does he?) and much more…

The Story: Hitting coach Mickey Hatcher doesn’t see any problems with Kendry Morales’ ankle when he swings.

The Monkey Says: Mickey says Morales is looking sharp from both sides and is even wearing spikes during practice.  This certainly allays a lot of the fears Kendry’s comments caused earlier this week.  Based on this info, it is probably safe to assume Kendry will be ready to at least DH come Opening Day.

The Story: Scott Kazmir revamped his off-season conditioning program to prepare for the season.

The Monkey Says: The team asked him to change things up with the hopes of him being able to strengthen his arm so that he might recover a little velocity as well as have enough stamina to maintain his mechanics.  Kaz even reportedly has shed a good bit of body fat over the winter as well.  Now the question is if this improved arm strength can do anything to help him recover his slider.

The Story: Mike Scioscia stopped short of naming Fernando Rodney his closer.

The Monkey Says: There are actually a lot of mixed signals in this interview about what Sosh thinks of his closer situation.  In fact, it was so confusing that multiple national outlets picked up the same quotes and interpreted them to mean that Fraudney actually has been given the job.  My personal opinion on what Scioscia meant was that Rodney is the incumbent but not a lock to keep the job since Scioscia likes the other options he has available.  Ultimately, I think he is just trying to light a fire under Rodney to get him to step up his game and end the closer competition before it ever really begins.

The Story: PECOTA playoff odd projections peg the Angels for 79 wins and a 21% chance at making the post-season.

The Monkey Says: I think they actually took the page down to make it cleaner looking now that it is getting a ton of traffic, so it may not be available right now, but trust me on this.  As for the projections, take them with a grain of salt because PECOTA has whiffed badly on the Angels with great frequency in the past.  It actually did a great job pegging the Halos’ final record last season, but for all the wrong reasons, predicting the Angels would have a good offense but poor pitching (umm, yeah, not so much).  On the bright side, the system says the Rangers are only an 85-win team, which supports my notion that the Rangers are going to come back to earth this year.  But the best part?  PECOTA predicts the Yankees to miss the playoffs altogether!

The Story: Mike Scioscia likes the feel of training camp so far.

The Monkey Says: What exactly does it feel like?  Is it squishy?  Furry?  Soft?  Slimey?  Coarse?  Inquiring minds want to know, Sosh.  One thing Scioscia actually provided some substance on though is that he has pretty much declared the third base job wide open, which is interesting since he made it seem like Maicer Izturis was the clear frontrunner when he declared him his preferred leadoff hitter earlier in the week.

The Story: Matt Palmer is hoping a revamped delivery can earn him a roster spot.

The Monkey Says: Palmer was riddled with injuries last season and quickly fell off the Angels’ radar.  I actually like his stuff, his two-seamer is pretty nice, but I don’t see him being a consistent pitcher with a reliable delivery (be it his new or old one) and no health problems until he loses a good bit of weight.  It may be too late for Palmer anyway though as he will soon be 32, which gives the Halos little incentive to give him a big league job over one of their many young relievers who still have potential to tap into.  Odds are Palmer will spend most of the season in Triple-A serving as an emergency rotation option in case injuries strike.

The Story: Jason Bulger, a new father, is looking to rebound from shoulder problems this season.

The Monkey Says: There is a lot of pressure on Bulger to perform this spring since there is really only one bullpen spot available and at least four other players competing for it.  However, since Bulger is out of options, he might actually have a leg up in the competition since the Halos may not want to risk exposing him to waiver if he shows signs of recovering his 2009 form.

The Story: The OC Register’s top 50 Angels countdown unveils numbers 40 thru 31.

The Monkey Says: I don’t have a whole lot of qualms with this section of the list, but I do find the inclusion of Scot Shields very interesting, if only because middle relievers are so often overlooked.

The Story: The Dodgers are marketing a “Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles” shirt.

The Monkey Says: What?  Did the shipment for these arrive five years late?  I actually think there might have been a typo on the shirt.  It should have read “Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles County Superior Court Divorce Circuit.”  I just hope this doesn’t mean they are going to have the “psychic” on their payroll start sending “negative vibes” at the Angels.  Really, Dodgers?  Really?

Garrett Wilson

About Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is the founder and Supreme Overlord of Monkeywithahalo.com and editor at The Outside Corner. He's an Ivy League graduate, but not from one of the impressive ones. You shouldn't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he is angry.