06/23/10 9:43 PM ET
Draft picks take swings at Angel Stadium
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
"Great experience, being here and taking BP," said Clarke, a mercurial center fielder from Georgia. Lindsey, a shortstop/second baseman from Scottsdale, Ariz., engaged fellow Scottsdale resident Brandon Wood in conversation. Bolden, from Mississippi, has a few inches on Hunter, whose position he'd someday like to claim. "I can also play the corners," Bolden said.
Scioscia was impressed.
"These kids, I'm amazed how good they are at such a young age," the manager said. "These kids are really advanced. They keep doing things you wouldn't expect from kids 18 years old, how they swing the bat. The poise they have is impressive."
The Angels are suddenly rich in athletic young outfielders, having landed Mike Trout and Randal Grichuk with their two first-round picks last year to go with ultra-swift Peter Bourjos, who's at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Frandsen is hit in No. 2 spot for Angels
ANAHEIM -- The Angels are 3-1 with Kevin Frandsen batting second in manager Mike Scioscia's revised lineup, acting as if he's been there his whole life. Well, actually, he has.
"From high school to college to the Minor Leagues, I'd say 95 percent of my games I've hit second," Frandsen said. "My whole deal is to set up, be on base for the big guys, not hit home runs. Move guys over, get guys in scoring position for Bobby [Abreu], Torii [Hunter], Hideki [Matsui]. Even down in the order that's what your job is, to get on base and turn the lineup over.
"I like to bunt -- especially here it's nice. It's part of Angels baseball -- getting guys over, hitting and running."
Scioscia plans to keep Frandsen between leadoff man Howard Kendrick and Abreu for now, but the boss indicated a move to the bottom third is likely for Frandsen when Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis return.
"Wherever he's hit in the lineup, he's squaring it up," Scioscia said. "If he can continue to be productive in the two-hole, it gives us the potential to be deeper. We'll hopefully keep him in that spot until we start to get some guys back.
"He's a prototypical No. 2 hitter on a National League club because of some of the things he can do. In the American League, he might be better as an 8 or 9 guy in a deep lineup. He can hit on the back side to set the table."
Frandsen, carrying a .351 average into Wednesday night's start against Dodgers right-hander John Ely, delivered big in Tuesday night's series-opening 6-3 win. On an 1-2 count, Frandsen fouled off four pitches by reliever Ronald Belisario before lashing a two-run double down the left-field line, reaching third on Garret Anderson's error.
"That was awesome," Frandsen said. "I fought off a few. With Belisario, he's got a nasty sinker and a really good slider. When you're 0-2, you're hoping to just put it in play. The pitch [a 94 mph fastball] I hit was way in. I don't know how I hit it where I did."
Signed to a Minor League contract a month into the season, Frandsen joined the Angels in early May and has been an essential component in their revival, primarily at third base but also at first. The club is 12-7 when he's in the starting lineup.
Confidence showing for Wood at plate
ANAHEIM -- Brandon Wood enjoyed the best game of his frustrating season in Tuesday night's 6-3 victory over the Dodgers, helping set the table for back-to-back three-run innings with a walk and single and then making the defensive play of the night in concert with second baseman Howard Kendrick, his teammate for three seasons in the Minor Leagues.
Wood started a brilliant double play with his diving stab of Matt Kemp's sharp grounder heading toward center field. Wood made a sprawling glove flip to Kendrick, who delivered a strong throw to first on the pivot with Casey Blake on top of him to take Fernando Rodney out of trouble in the eighth inning.
"The only other time I tried a glove flip like that I flipped it over H.K.'s head in Spring Training," Wood said. "It was instincts. It just happens in the moment. I'm trying to remind myself to move to where the ball is off the bat, and I was able to get to that one. To be honest, the better part of the play was Howie's turning it. Blake was right on him, but he jumped and got a lot on it."
Moving back to shortstop from third base in the absence of Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis, Wood has a five-game hitting streak (.353) heading into Wednesday night's start against Dodgers right-hander John Ely, raising his average from .152 to .176.
"In the batter's box, there's some more confidence forming," Wood said. "My approach, with where my hands are, I feel confident. I've put some good swings on the ball. I went through a stretch earlier where I was starting to square some balls up and they were getting caught. That was frustrating. I feel like I'm on the right track now."
From lumber to leather, Kendrick doing it all
ANAHEIM -- Howard Kendrick is known for his bat, but there's nothing wrong with his glove -- or his ability to turn a double play.
"I always thought he was a solid defender," said Brandon Wood, who played alongside Kendrick in the heart of the infield for three years in the Angels' farm system. "Seeing him now, he's playing really good defense. His swing came natural. He's always trying to play better defense. He's put a lot of time and effort into that part of the game, and it's paying off. His swing's always going to be there."
Kendrick and Wood collaborated on a sensational play at a pivotal moment in Tuesday night's 6-3 win over the Dodgers at Angel Stadium. The Dodgers were threatening in the eighth inning against Fernando Rodney with two on and none out when Matt Kemp hit a sharp ground ball seemingly ticketed for center field and a run. Wood got there with a dive and made a glove flip from the ground to Kendrick, who rose up with Casey Blake bearing down on him and completed a critical double play.
"To be honest, the better part of the play was Howie's turning it," Wood said. "Blake was right on him, but he jumped and got a lot on it. That was a great play he made."
Blake hit Kendrick low, but that's where he's most powerful.
"He's got tree trunks for legs," Wood said, grinning.
Kevin Frandsen, who was primarily a second baseman with the Giants but has played all four infield spots, has been impressed with Kendrick.
"Howie staying in on guys and making the turn has been unbelievable," Frandsen said. "He's done it time and time again."
Erick Aybar's status should be clear on Thursday, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, after the shortstop works out. "He's going to hopefully be on the field working out tomorrow," Scioscia said. "He's feeling better. We'll see if the medication takes effect and if he's ready this weekend." Aybar, who had an injection, said he was feeling "much better" on his hyperextended left knee, injured on June 14 in a collision at second base. If he isn't cleared to play this weekend, Aybar will be placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 15. ... The Angels are 16-6 since losing their most productive hitter, first baseman Kendry Morales, for the season with surgery on his lower left leg. They're 5-2 since losing Aybar. Once again, organizational depth is coming to the rescue. ... Minor League spotlight: Right-hander Michael Kohn's run of excellence at Triple-A Salt Lake continues. He hasn't given up a run in his past eight innings, covering six outings. For Double-A Arkansas, Barret Browning has produced six consecutive shutout innings in relief, and Jeremy Moore is batting .324 over his past 10 games. Outfielder Tyson Auer's strong season at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga continues. He's batting .332 with 40 steals in 52 attempts and has a team-high eight triples.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.