Numerous players pitching in
Angels' plethora of talent shining through this spring
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Given an opportunity to play their natural positions on Tuesday, Brandon Wood, Gary Matthews Jr., Robb Quinlan and Matt Brown were as happy as kids on the playground during the Angels' 12-7 Cactus League win over the Padres.
Wood, starting at shortstop at Peoria Sports Complex, continued his spectacular spring with a pair of doubles and several superb plays with the glove.
"There's no doubt that he can play Major League shortstop," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Wood, hitting .378 with a .730 slugging percentage in 37 Cactus League at-bats. "He's good. He had a great day today."
Angels ace John Lackey nodded in approval when asked about the skills Wood takes to shortstop.
"He's good," Lackey said. "He's got more range than it looks like because he's kind of long, rangy and smooth."
While shortstop incumbents Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis "probably have a little more range" by degrees than Wood, Lackey said, "I think they're all plenty good enough. We'll be fine with any of them."
Scioscia indicated that Aybar and Izturis remain ahead of Wood on the depth chart at shortstop, adding, "It hasn't changed as far as Woody carving out a role on our team."
Getting a shot in center field with Torii Hunter taking a day off, Matthews -- in his third appearance of the spring following knee surgery last October -- doubled home a run, singled home two runs and lined out.
Making one catch and reaching hits in the gap, Matthews looked to be in fine form defensively, having recovered more swiftly than anticipated from Oct. 28 knee surgery.
"Gary looks tremendous," Scioscia said. "He's running as well as he ever has."
Quinlan, savoring a start at first base and in the cleanup spot, smoked his first homer of the spring in his first at-bat. The versatile veteran drove a Josh Geer pitch over the 410 sign in left-center.
Quinlan went the other way for a base hit in the fifth inning, showing his bat control, and excelled defensively, starting a 3-6-3 double play behind Lackey and spearing a line drive back-handed off the bat of Luis Rodriguez.
Brown, showcasing his strong, accurate arm and good hands at third base, delivered three singles and drove in three runs. He's hitting .444 and leads the team in RBIs with 12 in 27 Cactus League at-bats.
A couple of Minor League outfielders also had reason to celebrate on St. Patrick's Day.
Chris Pettit, taking advantage of a start in right field, singled three times, walked and scored twice, raising his average to .342. Set back last year by a broken foot at Double-A Arkansas, Pettit is hoping to flourish in the outfield at Triple-A Salt Lake this season.
Bradley Coon came in late but made the most of his time, cracking a double to start the three-run seventh and launching a two-run homer in the eighth, his second blast of the spring.
Coon, hitting .333 in 15 Cactus League at-bats, is ticketed for Salt Lake, where he batted .306 last year.
"A couple weeks ago, he had a walk-off home run for us," Scioscia said of Coon, noted more for his speed than pop. "He's got a little power, but that's not a big part of what he can bring to a team."
Catcher Jeff Mathis slashed an RBI triple and walked in three at-bats, while middle infielder Luis Figueroa singled, walked and scored twice, hiking his spring average to an improbable .600 in 20 at-bats.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.