Vlad boasts whole package for Angels
Slugger has put strong arm, speed on display in Boston
BOSTON -- Vladimir Guerrero plays the whole game. He runs the bases with passion, goes full-tilt after fly balls and unleashes tremendous throws from walls to gloves at second, third and home.
Oh, yes. He also can hit a little bit.
Guerrero has put all his talents on display at Fenway Park this week against good buddy David Ortiz and the Red Sox.
With a quick break, Guerrero went to the stands in right to steal a home run from Manny Ramirez on Tuesday night in the series opener, Red Sox manager Terry Francona marveling at his ability to reach and handle it. Vlad used his burst again to steal his first base of the season and manufacture a big insurance run in concert with Torii Hunter in Wednesday night's 6-4 win.
"[Guerrero] also had third base stolen on [Erick] Aybar's hit up the middle [in the third inning]," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We gave him the green light a couple of times, and he got good breaks.
"Vlad's got the ability to take a base when it's there. He's not going to steal 40, like when he was younger, but when his legs are feeling good, he's going to have the option to look at it."
Guerrero beamed when his base running and glove were brought up on Thursday before the series finale. He still loves playing the game, although he admits he misses the days of his Montreal youth when he stole 37 and 40 bases in back-to-back seasons (2001 and '02).
"Maybe I'll get another one," Guerrero said, grinning, when asked about his steals. "I got two last year."
With healthier wheels, he had 15 thefts in 2006.
"I'm feeling good physically," he said. "No problems."
Guerrero had been struggling at the plate, but he took some extra work in the batting cage with hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, spreading out a little with his stance to achieve better balance.
"Vlad doesn't have to be told anything," Hatcher said. "He knows himself, what he needs to do. Mainly, he's trying to get short to the ball. He knows what he has to do to get to the inside pitch. It's all about feel. He'll keep working things out. That's why he hits .300 every year."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.