The May 19th, 2014 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels including Hamilton resumes batting practice, Freese on the verge of a return and much more…
The Story: Josh Hamilton took live batting practice late last week and appears to be on track to go on a rehab assignment late this week.
The Monkey Says: The Angels are close to being whole again. Hamilton is easily the biggest piece for them to get back as they’ve struggled to find a suitable fill-in at clean-up ever since he went down.
The Story: David Freese began his rehab stint over the weekend.
The Monkey Says: He already played two games and will likely play one more today before being activated along with Kole Calhoun.
The Story: Dane De La Rosa received a cortisone shot to reduce the inflammation in his shoulder.
The Monkey Says: There is no inclination of when he’ll resume throwing again but it doesn’t sound like anyone is too concerned.
The Story: Ian Stewart is hitting again, but still experiencing pain.
The Monkey Says: That’s not the only pain he must be feeling because it is pretty clear that there isn’t going to be a roster spot waiting for him once he does come off the DL.
The Story: Grant Green’s hot hitting may warm the seat for struggling regulars.
The Monkey Says: The only regulars that are struggling are David Freese and Raul Ibanez, and Ibanez is already fending off C.J. Cron. Freese will surely get plenty of time to re-establish himself, but come late-June, if he still isn’t hitting, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Grant Green called up to take his place. And make no mistake, Green will be sent down soon. He’s done nothing but impress, yet there just isn’t any room on the roster for him once everyone is healthy unless they decide to keep him over Cron, which I very much doubt.
The Story: Ken Rosenthal believes the Angels will pursue bullpen and mid-rotation help at the deadline.
The Monkey Says: Unless Shoemaker continues to overachieve or Santiago reclaims his spot, finding another reliable starter makes a lot of sense. I’d expect them to avoid rentals, but it really is too early to speculate this far away from the deadline.
The Story: Mike Scioscia is keeping a close eye on Albert Pujols’ health.
The Monkey Says: Albert certainly seems to be stiff at times, but he is moving much better than he was at any point last season. Finding him DH time on a regular basis is probably the only way to keep him healthy and productive.
The Story: Jered Weaver feels healthy for the first time in years.
The Monkey Says: And yet he got off to his worst start in years. Perhaps it is because, as Weaver mentioned last year, he is reverting to his old arm slot and struggling to find his release point. His command has been much better lately, so maybe he finally figured it out. Let’s hope so.
The Story: The Angels are the best baserunning team in baseball by far.
The Monkey Says: Which is weird since it is largely the same roster. Perhaps they are just putting less pressure on themselves to make things happen and not making as many dumb baserunning decisions? Maybe more guys are healthy and moving better. Pujols is an obvious one, but Erick Aybar wasn’t right last season. Great baserunning has been a hallmark of the Scioscia era, so maybe it is just as simple as guys buying into his philosophy more.
The Story: Mike Trout talks about his approach during his walk-off home run plate appearance.
The Monkey Says: Well, he sure seems to think he was all over it the whole time, but it is funny to hear the Rays catcher thinking that they had him fooled. Maybe they did and the location of that pitch was just that bad.
The Story: Mike Morin is getting good reviews from the coaching staff.
The Monkey Says: He finally got touched up for a homer yesterday, but he had been pretty great up until then and should be in line for a bigger role (he has yet to pitch in anything but low leverage situations) once he proves he can bounceback from that dinger.
The Story: Garrett Richards is part of the next wave of potential aces.
The Monkey Says: I still think there is too much wildness in his game for him ever to achieve full-on “ace” status, but he sure could be a quality #2.