Daily Links for the LA Angels including Cactus League play gets under way, Morales looks like he might have to start as DH, Abreu in a make-or-break year and much more…

The Story: The Angels won their first game of Cactus League play behind a big homer from Mark Trumbo.

The Monkey Says: And with that blast, Trumbo is already starting to get early hype as a dark horse to make the Angel roster.  Perhaps we should all settle down and wait just a few more games before handing him a spot on the Opening Day roster.

The Story: The Angels got shutout 5-0 in their second spring game, but Scott Kazmir was encouraged by his start.

The Monkey Says: This one was televised and, despite Fox Sports’ efforts to have the worst video feed ever, appeared to be rather hittable.  I did notice a few decent looking slider though, however there was no radar gun reading to show us whether or not Kazmir had recovered any velocity.

The Story: Kendry Morales will likely not be 100% by Opening Day.

The Monkey Says: Take this with a grain of salt because the status of K-Mo seems to change every few days.  There doesn’t seem to be any concern about Kendry being available to play come Opening Day, but this article seems to think he’ll have to start out as the designated hitter.  If that does come to pass, it will be interesting to see what the Angels do because Bobby Abreu is an important part of their offense who is now without a role.  I’d guess he plays left some days with Wells moving to center and Bourjos going to the bench, but that would weaken the Angel defense as much as it strengthens the offense.

The Story: 2011 is a make or break year for Bobby Abreu.

The Monkey Says: I think Abreu can bounce back a bit this season, but I am no sure I want him to.  The vesting option the article mentions is one that the Angels would be better off being free from, especially since they might to move Vernon Wells or Torii Hunter to DH so that Mike Trout can take over in left field.

The Story: Mike Scioscia made statements suggesting the closer competition could be more open than we thought.

The Monkey Says: Sosh made the comments (in the third paragraph), he was talking about Walden and how experience in a role is essentially overrated, clearly indicating that Walden is in the mix for the closer’s role.  This is great news, because most earlier comments I have seen from Scioscia suggested he was strongly leaning toward Fernando Rodney being the closer with, maybe, an occassional dose of Scott Downs mixed in.  I like the idea of a closer platoon involving Downs, but I think Rodney might well be the worst reliever in the pen this season, so anyone taking over for him (be it Walden or Jepsen) in a closer platoon would be more than fine with me.

The Story: The Angels are still unsettled behind the plate.

The Monkey Says: Ummmmm, no they’re not.  I don’t believe any of Scioscia’s posturing here.  Mathis is his guy and Conger is heading back to Triple-A to start the season where he can get regular playing time.  The only unsettled thing is whether Mathis catches 80 games, 100 games or 120 games.  That decision is largely going to be based on how much Bobby Wilson can impress Mike Scioscia.

The Story: What can Maicer Izturis do to stay in the lineup?

The Monkey Says: You mean aside from HGH?  I really doubt there is anything because Izturis is just one of those injury-prone guys.  Luck is the only thing that is going to keep him from getting hurt again this season.

The Story: Jordan Walden is working on a changeup.

The Monkey Says: Walden’s slider isn’t great, but it doesn’t look bad either, so adding a changeup isn’t necessary, not with his electric fastball.  However, if Walden can add a third pitch, especially if it is more than just a “keem ’em honest” changeup, then it could take his game to the next level.

The Story: Mike Trout is eager to make an early statement.

The Monkey Says: I only saw Trout’s first at-bat on Sunday, which was a base hit, and he didn’t look even remotely overmatched or uncomfortable in that batter’s box against John Ely.  I don’t know if that means anything, but it does make the imagine get off and running.

The Story: The Angels think Garrett Richards has a bright future.

The Monkey Says: RIchards has big-time ace potential, but is still a work-in-progress.  What will be interesting to see is how aggressive the Angels are with him in the minors.  He could start the season in High-A ball, Double-A or possibly even Triple-A if he really impresses this spring.