The Angels will play an exhibition game at their triple-A Salt Lake affiliate on March 22, 2016, the team announced on Monday. The game will feature two teams of Angels players, while another Angels team will remain in the Phoenix area for a split-squad game that day.
“A lot of bodies will be moving, but it should be fun,” Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. “It’s a great way to connect with the fans in Salt Lake, to give our players something different than the run-of-the-mill spring-training day.
“And it will give the Salt Lake fans a chance to see players who have come through in the past and some guys who have achieved great things but maybe never passed through Salt Lake.”
Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake holds 15,400, and Bees General Manager Marc Amicone, who was in Tempe for the announcement on Monday, said he expects a sellout for a game that will likely begin in the late afternoon.
Asked if he had made Dipoto promise he would send 2014 American League most valuable player Mike Trout to Salt Lake for the game, Amicone said, “We’re going to have to chat about that … I told Jerry, 'If Mike comes, Jerry can play.'”
Said Dipoto, who is 46 and 14 years removed from an eight-year career as a big-league reliever, “You don’t want to see that.”
Dipoto said the game has already been approved by Major League Baseball and that any inconvenience for players should be limited by the quick flight time between Phoenix and Salt Lake — about 80 minutes — and a scheduled day off the next day.
“This is a cool thing,” Dipoto said. “Years ago, we did this annually, we played an in-season game against our triple-A affiliate, but it’s tough to do during regular season now. It’s important to say thank you to a group of people who have done a tremendous job in developing our players.”