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Emergence of Angels’ Amarista doesn’t make Izturis expendable

Emergence of Angels’ Amarista doesn’t make Izturis expendable
Alexi Amarista charges a slow bouncer hit by Kansas City’s Chris Getz during a spring training game March 20.
(Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)

Tempe, Ariz. -- The Angels’ Alexi Amarista has emerged as a leading candidate for a utility role with his speed, defensive versatility, .340 average and team-leading 13 runs batted in, but he won’t make reserve infielder Maicer Izturis, a possible trade target of the Philadelphia Phillies, expendable just yet.

Though Amarista can play three outfield and three infield positions, he has only three innings of big league experience at shortstop, and he has never played there regularly in the minor leagues.

“He’s looked good [at shortstop] on the practice field in live, game-speed fungo drills, and his arm plays well,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s really developed into a good second baseman. He’s shown the versatility to play shortstop, but how much? Certainly, he can handle it in a utility role.”

Scioscia said that with Mark Trumbo and Alberto Callaspo sharing third base, Izturis will focus more on the middle-infield positions. Izturis is also the only attractive option should starting shortstop Erick Aybar get hurt—top prospect Jean Segura isn’t ready to play regularly in the big leagues, and triple-A shortstop Andrew Romine would provide little offense.

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So even though the Phillies may like the switch-hitting Izturis as a possible fill-in for injured second baseman Chase Utley, the Angels are reluctant to trade Izturis.

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