2/23/2013 4:05 P.M. ET
Richards hoping for consistent role with Angels
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- As long as he's in the Majors, Garrett Richards is down for whatever. He'll come out of the bullpen late in games to hold leads, he'll pitch multiple innings in mop-up duty as a long reliever or, in a perfect world, he'll work every five days as a starting pitcher.
He just hopes the Angels pick one.
"I need a routine," Richards said. "I need a routine that's going to stay the same."
As a 24-year-old without a full year of service time and still two option years left, Richards hasn't had that luxury. He's been a solid Minor League starter since being the 42nd overall pick in 2009, posting a 3.34 ERA in 398 1/3 innings, but has been bounced around at the big league level.
Down the stretch in 2011, he made a couple of spot starts, went on the disabled list, worked out of the bullpen for most of September and started the finale. Upon being called up from Triple-A in late May last year, he was in the rotation for two months, returned to the Minors for less than three weeks in early August, then came back later that month to work as a reliever the rest of the season.
The back-and-forth, Richards believes, may have contributed to his 5.82 ERA in 17 relief innings to end the year.
"Honestly, I feel like my performance suffered because of it," Richards said. "If you look at the times when I've been on my five-day schedule and I knew I was going to pitch -- when I can get my lifts in and my running and I could be on my routine -- my performances were fine."
But he doesn't mind being a reliever, either.
"That's fine, too, I just want to know what I'm doing. That's it," Richards said, though he also understands his situation doesn't necessarily call for that. "It's difficult to be on one schedule and then be told to do another thing. I don't have a problem with adapting to it, but it is difficult. It's not an easy thing to do."
The Angels are going to stretch Richards out this spring, starting him Monday at the Mariners' facility, because they want to keep their options open.
But in some ways, they'd prefer him to win a bullpen spot -- because his stuff should play as a reliever and because it gives them the best 25-man roster heading into a championship-contending season.
Yes, it hurts their starting-pitching depth if Richards doesn't stay stretched out in the Minors. And yes, Richards' long-term future, perhaps as soon as 2014, is as a starter. But some members of the organization feel it'd be even more beneficial if he was simply in the big leagues already, in whatever capacity.
That's Richards' goal.
He also hopes his role can stay consistent throughout the summer.
"If they want me to go in the bullpen, then that would be fine, but I would want them to tell me," Richards said. "I don't want it to be both -- like, do this, but we still want you to do that."
Bourjos eager for playing time with Halos
TEMPE, Ariz. -- For the very first game of a Spring Training that started a week early, causing most of the regulars to sit, Peter Bourjos told manager Mike Scioscia he wanted to be in the lineup. And when Luke Carlin flied out to end the fifth inning Saturday, the Angels' center fielder left the on-deck circle shaking his head, disappointed that he didn't get that third plate appearance.
This spring, on the heels of a 2012 season in which he rarely played the last four months, Bourjos wants as much playing time as possible.
But it's not because he feels this is a tryout to earn regular playing time again.
"I'm just like that," Bourjos said after drawing a walk, scoring from first base, hitting a single and dropping a fly ball against the Cubs at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
"That may be the case, but I don't look at it like that. I just always want to play as much as I can. I like being out there as much as possible. It's been that way since my first Spring Training in 2008."
So far this spring, Scioscia hasn't sounded like a man who's ready to hand Bourjos the everyday job in center field, leaving the door open -- publicly, at least -- for Vernon Wells to earn some occasional playing time in left field, which would move Mike Trout to center.
The Angels skipper remained coy when asked if Bourjos needs to prove himself this spring, saying, "There's a lot of guys who need to win playing time. I talk about that all the time. There's definitely some lineups where Peter's going to make us stronger, and if he's where he needs to be, then he's obviously going to win playing time."
Enright confident in restored delivery
TEMPE, Ariz. -- It finally hit home while signing autographs.
One day last season, a fan gave Barry Enright a photo from late in his D-backs days, and immediately the 26-year-old right-hander saw it -- his arm, clearly staying inside the baseball as opposed to behind it, which over the years has diminished his deception and fluctuated his velocity.
"Being with the Diamondbacks, Brandon Webb and some of the guys that modeled off of sinkerballers, I kind of started feeding into that a little bit," Enright said. "My arm angle got a little wide and I was kind of turning the ball behind my head a little bit, even trying to make it sink. The ball was moving a lot, but it was moving early. And a lot of guys, whether it's a changeup or a sinker, either see it out of the zone or see it the entire way."
So Enright struggled to regain his success of 2010, when he posted a 3.91 ERA in 17 starts down the stretch with Arizona. In 2011, he posted a 6.49 ERA in his first six starts in the Majors, then spent almost the entire rest of the season in Triple-A Reno, finishing there with a 5.21 ERA. Then, last year, Enright had a 5.87 ERA in 21 starts before the Angels picked him up for a player to be named (Frazier Hall) on July 24.
Ever since then, the red-headed Pepperdine University product has slowly found himself again.
Enright went 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA in eight starts for the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, earning a September callup, and worked with pitching coach Mike Butcher in Arizona during the offseason to regain his old delivery.
It's early, and he isn't expected to be more than a Triple-A starter this year -- at least initially -- but Enright has been one of the most impressive Angels pitchers in camp so far. By staying behind the ball and using his lower half, Enright's changeup should be more effective and his fastball velocity, which can reach the mid-90s, is expected to remain consistent.
"And then confidence, knowing that you're repeating your delivery and you feel good about it," Butcher noted. "I know it's just bullpen sessions, but delivery-wise, he's where he needs to be."
"I think I got more in the mentality of you get yourself out instead of me get you out, and I lost a lot of deception coming at you," said Enright, who will make his spring debut while starting Sunday's home game against the A's. "Right now, it's looked good, it's felt really good. Obviously the next step is facing hitters and getting used to that. I'm looking forward to it on Sunday. Hopefully everything keeps progressing."
• In Saturday's split-squad action, Angels outfielder Scott Cousins started the game at home against the Cubs instead of the one in Scottsdale against the Giants. Asked if it had anything to do with Cousins' incident of two years ago with Giants catcher Buster Posey, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said: "Not at all." Cousins hasn't played against Posey since he ended the catcher's season in a scary, controversial home-plate collision at AT&T Park in San Francisco on May 25, 2011.
• Erick Aybar, getting in games because he's playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, hit second Saturday. But Scioscia said he isn't leaning toward anybody for the No. 2 spot just yet. The Angels skipper is considering Howie Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo and Aybar there, saying, "We might match up for a little bit. If one guy takes off with it and runs, like Torii [Hunter] did last year, then obviously we'll be set one through five."
• Bill Hall started at third base Saturday, but his chances of making the Opening Day roster as a backup infielder may hinge on his ability to play shortstop -- a position he came up playing but hasn't had extended time at since 2006. In anticipation for that, Hall shed about 20 pounds this offseason. And though Scioscia sees him more as a third baseman, second baseman and corner outfielder, he said he'll give the 33-year-old some looks at shortstop this spring.
• Michael Kohn made his first appearance in a game since undergoing Tommy John surgery last April, pitching a 1-2-3 inning Saturday and striking out a couple of batters. "He's healthy," Scioscia said. "That ball was coming out hot, and those couple sliders that he threw were impressive."
• Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton will not play Sunday, but are expected to make their spring debuts at some point next week.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show," and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.