Three catchers is a bit of a crowd
It is a luxury for the Angels to carry third catcher Bobby Wilson, who has one at-bat, in a lopsided April 9 loss to Oakland, in 11 games. With Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli well ahead of him on the depth chart, Wilson is not in a position to contribute much.
But the Angels value Wilson’s solid defensive skills — as do other teams that would like to have the 26-year-old — and they don’t want to lose him without any return. Wilson is out of options, meaning he would have to clear waivers before being demoted to triple A.
One possible solution to the logjam behind the plate would be to trade a catcher. Napoli, who makes $3.6 million and is unhappy with his limited role this season, would have considerable value. Though he is not as good defensively as Mathis and Wilson, he hit 20 homers in each of the past two seasons.
“You’re always looking at your club, your depth chart, and other clubs’ needs,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “Not that anyone is out there being shopped, but Tony [Reagins, Angels general manager] is constantly in contact with other GMs to see if there are things that can help us. That doesn’t mean anything is imminent, though.”
Walk this way
As discouraging as it has been to watch opponents trot around the bases, it’s those 90-foot jogs to first that are driving Scioscia a little batty.
Asked Friday which development was more disturbing, the major league-high 20 home runs the Angels have allowed or the 44 walks, 12th-most in the American League, they’ve issued, the manager said, “Definitely the walks.”
Home runs, Scioscia said, “are a byproduct of facing good hitters and being aggressive in getting the ball in some zones. What we’re finding is that a lot of our lack of production on the pitching side is really from being in bad counts and putting a lot of pressure on guys to bury that 2-1 fastball, to not throw that 2-1 slider.
“Our guys are better than that. We’re seeing some good things — Joel Pineiro and Jered Weaver have thrown the ball well, and Joe Saunders threw better his last time out. But we’re not getting the pitching production we will.”
Closer Brian Fuentes, on the disabled list because of a muscle strain in the middle of his back, threw off a bullpen mound Friday and expects to be activated when he is eligible to come off the DL Wednesday.
“The back feels good, and the bullpen session went well,” said Fuentes, who has appeared in one game, the April 5 season opener. “As of now, it seems like we’re right on schedule.”
With his fifth-inning double Friday, Mathis has hit in all eight of his starts this season, the longest hitting streak of his career. Including the playoffs last October, Mathis has hit in 12 straight games and is batting .421 (16 for 38) with six doubles. …Vernon Wells’ first-inning homer Friday night gave the Toronto center fielder 736 career runs batted in, which tied Joe Carter for third place on the Blue Jays’ all-time RBI list. … Spotted in the Rogers Centre crowd Friday: a man wearing an Angels No. 23 Dallas McPherson jersey. Really.