02/28/2013 7:42 PM ET
Romine may have leg up for backup infield job
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Andrew Romine is one of five players, all with big league time, vying for the backup infield spot vacated by long-time Angel Maicer Izturis. But since the start of camp, it's Romine -- and only Romine -- who has been taking groundballs with the first team, joining Alberto Callaspo, Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols for infield drills.
He isn't about to take that as a sign that he's the favorite to open the season in the big leagues, though.
"No signs," Romine said, smiling. "That part of the game will get you in trouble."
Romine is competing with Bill Hall, Tommy Field, Brendan Harris and Luis Rodriguez for one of the open bench spots this spring, but he may have a few things pointing in his favor.
Romine is most comfortable at shortstop, with the ability to play second and third base. He bats left-handed (besides Rodriguez, a switch-hitter, the other three bat from the right side). He's on the 40-man roster (along with only Field). And he's the only homegrown player of the group.
The Angels' bench will include Vernon Wells and the backup catcher, leaving two spots vacant. Placing Romine on the Opening Day roster would be appealing to the Angels because he'd provide both a left-handed bat off the bench and the ability to play shortstop, clearing an easier path for Hall -- long removed from his days as a shortstop, but the most accomplished non-roster position player -- to also make the team.
"I believe that I'm a Major League Baseball player," Romine said. "I have the skill set to do it, and as long as I perform to my ability, I think I should be here."
The 27-year-old Romine was taken in the fifth round in 2007 and has compiled a .277/.352/.363 slash line in his six-year Minor League career. Over the last three years, he's appeared in 27 games for the Angels, going 10-for-44 with 13 strikeouts and four walks.
During that time, Romine has picked Izturis' brain about the difficult task of adjusting to sporadic playing time.
"I did see this developing over the last couple years, so I hung out a lot around Maicer," Romine said. "I talked to him. I figured out what was going on in his head, because he was very good at what he did.
"He always stressed being ready, at any time. Because especially in this organization, anything can happen. I can pinch-hit late, or I can just come in and run in an important situation. Anything can happen."
Scioscia ready to get look at rotation pieces
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- On Friday, at last, Angels manager Mike Scioscia will begin trotting out his starting rotation for Cactus League contests, starting with Jered Weaver against the Dodgers at Tempe Diablo Stadium, then followed respectively with starts by C.J. Wilson, Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson.
The 35 pitchers who have taken the mound for the Angels this spring have compiled an 8.06 ERA in 60 1/3 innings, but only one of them -- Jerome Williams -- seemingly has a guaranteed spot on the Opening Day roster.
Seventeen days and seven Cactus League games have elapsed from the start of camp to the first time an Angels starting pitcher will make an appearance.
"This first week of games, really, we got a look at a lot of guys, and we'll continue to get looks at them -- a lot of them younger players, a lot of them veterans trying to earn a spot," Scioscia said. "The core players, as we start to fold them into the lineup, we're anxious to get them on the field, move their playing shape forward and find that on-field chemistry."
Cassevah outrighted off Angels' 40-man roster
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Angels outrighted reliever Bobby Cassevah off their 40-man roster on Thursday.
Cassevah, who is out of options, cleared waivers and now has 72 hours to decide whether or not to accept an assignment to the Minor Leagues. If he doesn't, he'll become a free agent.
Cassevah posted a 2.87 ERA in a combined 46 appearances with the Angels from 2010-11. Late last spring, the 27-year-old right-hander suffered a slight tear in his rotator cuff, then struggled in Triple-A, posting a 6.22 ERA in 44 games, and was sent to the Arizona Fall League to continue working on his pitching.
The move creates an open spot on the Angels' 40-man roster, which is now at 39.
• Josh Hamilton on Thursday had what manager Mike Scioscia called "a re-charge day," a couple days after making his spring debut. The Angels' new right fielder is expected to start Friday against the Dodgers' split squad.
• Sean Burnett (stiff lower back) said he already feels good enough to throw off a bullpen mound, but is waiting on clearance from the Angels' medical department. The lefty reliever threw off flat ground again on Thursday and doesn't believe he needs much time to get game ready.
• Former shortstop and fan favorite David Eckstein was in Angels camp for the second straight spring, working with the young infielders. He got there earlier in the week and left on Thursday, but Eckstein will be back later in spring to work on the Minor League side.
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.