Shutout Is Latest Inferior Display
With six days until the nationally televised season opener, the Angels do not appear ready for prime time. They were shut out Sunday, for the second time in three days. Their 7-17 record is the worst in the Cactus League, as is their .250 batting average. Injuries forced them to scratch third baseman Troy Glaus from Sunday’s lineup and remove center fielder Darin Erstad after three innings.
And their usually reliable defense, which should not be subject to slumps, is porous. The Angels made four errors Sunday. They have made 30 this spring, most of any American League team.
“We have been very rough defensively,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’ve got to start to put the pieces together.”
Glaus, hampered by tendinitis in his right wrist that nagged him at times last summer and this spring, is expected to sit out at least two games, Scioscia said. Erstad, still fighting pain as he rebuilds strength in his surgically repaired right hand, could not swing effectively Sunday but hopes to play today.
While Tim Salmon still will serve as the designated hitter on occasion, his left knee has held up well enough this spring to convince the Angels that he can play right field on a regular basis. That could allow Julio Ramirez to sneak ahead of Jeff DaVanon and Chone Figgins and win the final bench spot.
With Salmon, Erstad and Garret Anderson set to start and Eric Owens as the backup for all three, the Angels can afford to carry a defensive specialist as their fifth outfielder. Last season, they often used a late-inning defensive replacement for Salmon, and Scioscia calls Ramirez the best defensive outfielder in camp.
Jarrod Washburn, who was scheduled to start Sunday’s opener until a sprained shoulder delayed his spring progress, will instead pitch in a minor league exhibition game Sunday and join the Angel rotation the following weekend.... Chris Bootcheck, ticketed for the triple-A Salt Lake rotation, will not throw for several days because of inflammation in his right elbow.... Ramon Ortiz reported to camp three years older last spring and, according to the Angel media guide, two months younger this spring. General Manager Bill Stoneman said he was unaware of any new documentation regarding the true age of Ortiz, who said he did not turn 30 on Sunday but really, truly turns 30 on May 23.