Should the Angels need an emergency catcher, utility infielder and outfielder David Fletcher would get the call.
The Angels on Tuesday had both catchers on their roster in the starting lineup for the series finale against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park. Veteran Jonathan Lucroy was behind the plate to catch Angels starter Trevor Cahill and Kevan Smith was slotted in at designated hitter.
With left-hander Marco Gonzales starting for the Mariners, the configuration made sense. Smith hit left-handed pitching well throughout his minor league career. And first baseman Justin Bour, their other designated-hitter option for the day, toted a career .218 batting average against left-handers into Tuesday’s game.
But the decision also left the Angels exposed. No one else on their roster has professional innings as a catcher.
Fletcher worked with catching coach Jose Molina during the exhibition Freeway Series last week to prepare for such a situation, manager Brad Ausmus said. Fletcher is scheduled to catch a bullpen session at Angel Stadium soon.
“I don’t know if he liked it or not,” Ausmus said. “But he did it. He got his own catching gear. I think he was excited about that.”
Taylor Cole is progressing
Injured Angels reliever Taylor Cole threw in an extended spring-training game in Arizona a few days ago, Ausmus said. It was the right-hander’s first time pitching in a competitive situation since he was shut down because of shoulder soreness in early March.
Cole started throwing during the final days of major league camp, but was too late for him to catch up. He still needs to make a few more outings before he can pitch in a regular-season game.
Cole, who posted a 2.75 earned-run average with 39 strikeouts in 36 innings as a rookie last year, still has minor league options remaining on his contract. He could be activated from the injured list and optioned to triple-A Salt Lake City.