03/27/2013 1:05 AM ET
Wells' departure complicates roster decisions
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Vernon Wells' departure has given the Angels some much-desired payroll flexibility, but it has also clouded their bench situation.
With Wells joining the Yankees, the Angels no longer have that everyday-type player in reserve -- a luxury most American League clubs are not afforded -- and manager Mike Scioscia may go down to the wire with his final roster decisions.
But Scioscia doesn't believe the Angels' bench necessarily took a step back with Wells no longer an option.
"For an everyday player on the bench, usually it's a tougher task when you are not used to that role," he said. "Last year, we saw that with Vernon. I think Vernon is a guy that needs to get out there and get his at bats and learn from some things that aren't working. He needs that playing time."
In addition to their starting nine, the Angels have 10 position players left in camp. All have at least an outside chance to make the roster, and most of them started against the D-backs on Tuesday night.
Here's where they each stand with six days left before Opening Day ...
Backup catcher: Chris Snyder, Hank Conger and John Hester remain. Making Snyder the backup catcher would be the Angels' best chance of preserving their depth at the position. Snyder, acquired on March 18, can opt out of his contract if not on the Opening Day roster. Conger, who has been inconsistent with his throwing all spring, has options left. But Conger is the most talented of the trio.
Backup infielder: Andrew Romine -- already on the 40-man roster and home-grown -- came into camp looking like the heavy favorite and hasn't done anything to dispel that. Brendan Harris, Luis Jimenez, Efren Navarro and Luis Rodriguez are the others, and now that Wells is gone, they still have a chance.
Backup outfielder: Only Kole Calhoun and J.B. Shuck, both of whom play all three outfield spots and bat left-handed, remain. Calhoun is home-grown and on the 40-man. But he's 8-for-40 this spring. Shuck is 15-for-42.
Fourth bench spot: This is where it gets tricky. With the other three spots, the Angels will have a catcher, a versatile infielder and a left-handed-hitting outfielder. The fourth spot will depend on Scioscia's preference.
If it's a defensive first baseman, since either Albert Pujols or Mark Trumbo figure to be the designated hitter most nights, then Navarro could win a spot. If it's a right-handed-hitter, then Jimenez has an upper-hand. If it's an extra infielder, giving Scioscia the freedom to use Romine as a pinch-runner, Rodriguez and Harris could get extended looks.
The Angels currently have four spots open on the 40-man roster and general manager Jerry Dipoto said the team will fill out its bench in-house.
But Scioscia isn't tipping his hand.
"There are two ways to look at it, micro and macro," Scioscia said. "You are looking at moves within the game and you are looking at at-bats within a season you are going to need. There are a lot of things to look at. It gives you different lineups. We're going to look at it very closely as we get down to the wire."
Weaver finds form right on schedule
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Yeah, Jered Weaver is ready for Opening Day.
If there was even the slightest doubt, the Angels' ace put it to rest in his spring finale against the D-backs on Tuesday night, breezing through seven scoreless innings while retiring 21 of the 25 hitters he faced.
"It's what you want to do going into the season," Weaver said. "Everything felt good, everything is on track. I'm ready to get this thing under way."
Weaver's next start will be his fourth straight regular-season opener, against the Reds and under the National League rules of Cincinnati on Monday.
There were faint, short-lived concerns the 30-year-old right-hander wouldn't have enough stamina by then, when he lasted only two innings and gave up eight runs against the A's on March 16. But Weaver felt good through 6 1/3 innings of an intrasquad game five days later, then was in vintage form at Salt River Fields.
Weaver needed only 87 pitches to get through the D-backs on Tuesday. He scattered two hits, walked one, hit another, struck out three and retired 12 in a row at one point.
"I always try to treat the last game like a regular-season game, try to mix my pitches and throw everything like you would in a regular-season game," Weaver said. "You always want to end the spring on the right foot, and I felt like I did that for the most part."
Angels announce TV schedule
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- At least 10 Angels games are set for national TV this year, and the local station is slated to carry all the rest.
The Angels announced on Wednesday that FOX Sports West will televise approximately 150 games during the 2013 season, beginning Opening Day from Cincinnati on Monday at 12:30 p.m. PT. The figure isn't exact because ESPN, FOX or MLB Network could choose to carry more Angels games in August and September.
Of most importance: If you live in Southern California, there's a good chance all 162 Angels games will be available on TV.
Victor Rojas returns for his fourth season calling play-by-play and Mark Gubicza will provide color commentary for the sixth campaign for FOX Sports West. The "Angels Live" pregame and postgame shows will move from the rock pile in center field to a new set underneath the big red hats at the Home Plate Gate.
• Minor League lefty reliever Brandon Sisk, acquired from the Royals for Ervin Santana on Oct. 31, had successful Tommy John surgery on Tuesday. Recovery is usually 12 months.
• Reliever Steve Geltz, who had a very brief stint with the Angels last season, was outrighted off the 40-man roster after he cleared waivers on Tuesday. The 25-year-old right-hander will remain in the organization in Triple-A Salt Lake. The Angels' 40-man roster is now at 36.
• Angel Stadium will open up a "revolutionary new" Oakley Store in Section 113 this season.
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.