Daniel Robertson hopes to get Angels reserve outfield job through hard work

Daniel Robertson spent six years in minor leagues before playing for Texas Rangers last season

If Daniel Robertson doesn't win a reserve outfield job with the Angels this spring, it won't be for lack of attitude, energy or effort.

Robertson grew up in a La Puente mobile home, "but it was a double-wide, a big one," he said. His parents divorced when he was 2, and he was raised by a single father, Michael, a former construction worker and now big-rig truck driver who toiled long hours to support his family.

"I got a lot of my blue-collar work ethic from him," said Robertson, who played football and baseball at South Hills High in West Covina. "Pete Rose was his favorite player, and he instilled that Charlie Hustle attitude in me. I'm always running around, playing hard, getting my uniform dirty."

Robertson, 5 feet 8, 205 pounds, played six full years in the minor leagues before cracking the big leagues with the Texas Rangers last season, when he hit .271 in 70 games. He never looked at his size as an impediment.

"You have a guy like David Ortiz who hits balls a certain distance, and you have a guy like Dustin Pedroia, who can probably hit them just as far," Robertson said. "Size doesn't matter. At the end of the day, it's still baseball."

Robertson has impressed the Angels with his ability to play all three outfield spots and to make consistent contact. He's patient at the plate, he can bunt and hit-and-run, and he runs well.

"I feel like offensively, whatever the game asks me to do, I can do it," Robertson said. "If I'm at the top of the lineup, my job is to see as many pitches as I can, have a team at-bat."

The right-handed-hitting Robertson is competing with the left-handed-hitting Efren Navarro and Marc Krauss for a job. Whether Manager Mike Scioscia wants a left-handed or right-handed hitter in that spot could determine Robertson's fate.

If he doesn't make the club, Robertson won't be deterred. He'll just think back to the words of another South Hills graduate, Shawn Wooten, a former catcher who played nine minor league seasons before reaching the big leagues and helping the Angels win the World Series in 2002.

Wooten spoke to the South Hills varsity team when Robertson was a 16-year-old sophomore in 2002.

"He said to stick with it, that your dream is right around the corner," Robertson said. "It's so cliche, but each day is an opportunity to get better. If you want to be a big league player, you're going to put in a big league effort. If you're not a big league player, you'll be weeded out.

"All I ever wanted to do since I was a kid was play against the best and see what it's like. Now that I'm here competing against the best every day, I'm trying to find a way to stick."

Baldoquin in camp

Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin, who signed for $8 million in January, arrived at camp on Friday, his lengthy delay ending when he secured the required documents to travel from Haiti to the U.S.

Baldoquin, 20, took a red-eye flight from Miami to Phoenix, and within a few hours he was on a back field at the team's spring-training complex, taking batting practice and fielding ground balls.

"He looked great," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. "Right off the plane, he threw on a uniform, walked onto the field, jumped into a batting-practice group, and the first pitch he saw, he hit a line drive to right field. He looked smooth and easy, spraying line drives all over the place."


Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

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