Grant Green has sights on winning Angels' second base job

Grant Green is trying to make transition to full-time second baseman with Angels

Grant Green spent most of his baseball life playing shortstop.

He starred at the position at Anaheim Canyon High, moved on to USC and became a first-round draft pick of the Oakland Athletics.

Six years and multiple positions later, Green is preparing for his seventh professional season with a clear goal during the Angels' spring-training camp.

"Win that second base job," he said, "That's the be-all, end-all of this spring for me."

When the Angels traded second baseman Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers in December, it created opportunity for Green, who spent the last 1 1/2 seasons in the Angels organization.

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Green is competing with Josh Rutledge, Johnny Giavotella and Taylor Featherston, all of whom played in other organizations last season.

Manager Mike Scioscia described Green, 27, as "kind of a late bloomer" and said he could be valuable playing one position or in multiple roles.

"He's a kid that's very comfortable in the batter's box," Scioscia said. "He can swing it."

Green has a .309/.357/.473 slash line in the minor leagues, but he played in only five major league games before the A's sent him to the Angels in a July 2013 trade for infielder Alberto Callaspo.

Green played 40 major league games with the Angels in 2013 and 43 last season, when he batted .273 with a home run and 11 runs batted in.

Green played left field, third base, shortstop, second base and first base in 2014. He spent the off-season preparing to play second, but also continued to work at shortstop and third.

"When he gets on the left side, things happen a little more naturally," said Angels third base coach Gary DiSarcina, a former Angels shortstop. "He's not thinking as much because that's where he's played so much.

"When you move to the right side you have to think a little bit more. You tend to be a little bit more mechanical and not let it happen. The more he's over there, those times when you see him thinking and being mechanical will dissipate and then disappear."

Green grew up not far from Angels Stadium. But his father, a Bay Area native, was a San Francisco Giants fan and so was Green.

"Every single team I was ever on growing up was always the Giants," he said.

In the 2002 World Series, the Angels defeated the Giants. While Orange County and the Southland developed Halos fever, Green held firm.

"I wanted the Giants to win," he said.

Green committed to USC as a high school junior. He briefly considered re-opening his recruitment after USC fired coach Mike Gillespie, but he heeded the advice of his father, who reminded him that he had given his word to USC.

UC Irvine hired Gillespie a year later and he coached against Green for two seasons.

"He was spectacular," Gillespie said. "He was offensive, he could run, the bat was good and he had power."

Green batted .374 as a USC junior and was selected by the A's with the 13th pick in the 2009 draft.

But he committed 37 errors in 114 games at Class-A Stockton in 2010, his only pro season as a full-time shortstop. Green played shortstop and center field in 2011, and multiple positions in 2012. He never played shortstop in the major leagues for the A's.

Now he is out to prove that he can transition full-time to second base, where has committed only two errors in 182 chances with the Angels.

Scioscia said last week that he could use a combination of players at the position.

But Green is intent to make it his own.

"As long as I can get the footwork down that I've been working all off-season for," he said, "as long as I keep that, second base is going to become easier for me."

Garrett Richards completes bullpen session

Right-hander Garrett Richards, who is coming off knee surgery, completed another bullpen session. Richards has said he feels good and is working toward being ready for the start of the season. But Scioscia reiterated before the workout that Richards was two or three weeks behind other pitchers and is not going to be ready by opening day. "He's not going to be able to rush it," Scioscia said. "Because our medical staff is not going to let him."

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