Matthews wants to play more
Gary Matthews Jr., who ranks no higher than fifth on the Angels’ outfield depth chart, said Sunday he does not wish to accept a reserve role this season.
“My goal is to play every day,” Matthews said. “I hope that’s here.
“I don’t intend to sit around and play a couple times a week like last year.”
The Angels signed Matthews to be their regular center fielder two years ago, for $50 million over five years. They signed Torii Hunter for the same role last year -- for $90 million over five years -- forcing Matthews to rotate among the three outfield positions and designated hitter.
He hit .242 with eight home runs, playing with a torn ligament in his left knee that required postseason surgery. In the second half, Manager Mike Scioscia usually benched him in favor of Juan Rivera.
“I sacrificed by changing positions, not making a stink about it and playing when I was hurt, with a pretty significant injury,” Matthews said. “I did what I was supposed to do and kept my mouth shut.
“Now that I’m healthy, I want to go back to playing every day. I don’t think anybody would fault me for that.”
The Angels replaced Garret Anderson with Bobby Abreu this winter, leaving Matthews behind Hunter, Abreu, Rivera and Vladimir Guerrero among their outfielders.
Matthews hit .313 with 19 home runs -- both career highs -- as an All-Star for the Texas Rangers in 2006. He hit .252 with 18 home runs for the Angels in 2007.
Matthews, 34, has three years and $33 million left on his contract. General Manager Tony Reagins said the Angels are aware of his wishes.
“There have been no demands, or anything like that,” Reagins said.
Matthews made his Cactus League debut Sunday, well ahead of a rehabilitation timetable that had him missing all of spring training.
Scioscia said Matthews must prove his knee can withstand more than one game before the Angels can determine how often he might play this season.
“We have a lot of guys battling for at-bats,” Scioscia said. “Gary has to get healthy, and we’ll see where he is.”
Jered Weaver gave up four runs last spring, in 26 1/3 innings. He has given up four runs this spring, in three innings.
The Oakland Athletics routed the Angels on Sunday, 8-1, roughing Weaver up for three runs and six hits over 2 1/3 innings. Opponents are batting .588 off him this spring.
Weaver got a late start this spring because of shoulder soreness. After two Cactus League appearances, his earned-run average is 12.00.
“You just want to come out of it feeling good,” Weaver said. “I came out of it feeling good.”
Left-hander Brett Anderson, the A’s top prospect and a U.S. Olympian last summer, shut out a legitimate Angels lineup for four innings. Anderson finished last season at double A, but the A’s have not ruled out including him in their starting rotation. “The better competition I face, the more I’m locked in,” he said. . . . Scioscia said Ervin Santana, trying to rehabilitate a partially torn ligament in his right elbow, has started “baby steps” in his throwing program. Santana is expected to start the season on the disabled list. “We’re not going to know [his timetable] until he is a couple weeks into his throwing and we see where he is,” Scioscia said. . . . Mike Napoli homered for the Angels. Kendry Morales had three of the Angels’ five hits, lifting his spring average to .412.