2/16/2014 4:50 P.M. ET
Teenage southpaw Green taking in first Spring Training
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mike Trout is long removed from his days as the youngest player at Angels camp.
That honor, by a long shot, now belongs to left-hander Hunter Green, the 18-year-old starting pitcher who was drafted out of high school in the second round of the First-Year Player Draft last June.
"Before I got here, I was worried and scared about how it was going to be," Green said. "And once I got here, I fit right in, and so far it's been going really good."
When the Angels plucked Green out of Bowling Green, Ky. -- the same hometown as Joe Blanton and Corey Hart -- he was rail thin, his 6-foot-4 frame weighing only 159 pounds. Now, he's up to 180. And eventually, he'd like to get to 200 pounds.
Green can throw his fastball in the mid-90s, but hit a wall late in the season in rookie ball and struggled to even get it up to 90 mph. Green finished his stint in the Arizona League with a 4.32 ERA, walking 16 batters while striking out 11 in 16 2/3 innings.
Needless to say, there's still a lot of room for growth.
"I'm still trying to figure out the feel for all my pitches," said Green, ranked 11th in the Angels' system by MLB.com in 2013. "I'm still trying to learn command for all my pitches, because that's one thing I've really struggled on the whole time I've been pitching, especially last year. I've had a lot of walks."
Hamilton alters offseason conditioning approach
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton is back in camp, weighing in at 240 pounds and eying a different set of numbers for 2014: .300 batting average, 30 home runs, 100 RBIs.
"Anything after that is gravy," Hamilton said shortly after arriving to the Angels' Spring Training facility on Sunday morning. "That's where I want to be. If I get there, it's always good to break your goals and go further."
After a season that saw his batting average drop to .250, his homers drop to 21 and his RBIs drop to 79, Hamilton put on 28 pounds with a high-calorie, high-protein, gluten-free diet and some cheat days mixed in.
In hopes of being healthier, while predicting that he wouldn't drop as much weight during the season as he used to in Texas, Hamilton deployed a natural-juice diet last offseason. He showed up weighing 227 pounds, dropped an additional 15 over the summer and never really found his typical power.
Now, he's at the weight where he used to be at the start of Rangers camp -- and hoping for similar numbers.
"It will help," Hamilton said. "My joints won't feel as good. I felt good last year, as far as my joints and body. This year, I will probably hurt a little bit more.
"I'm used to when I mis-hit balls, they still have a chance. Last year, I didn't feel like I was there."
The new weight should help him regain his power, the strong finish to 2013 -- .327/.386/.500 slash line in the last 40 games -- should help his state of mind, and a return to left field should simplify things.
After noticing that his hips -- twice surgically repaired -- weren't driving through the ball like they used to, Hamilton also worked with a functional movement coach, who, as Hamilton said, "helped to turn things on again."
His expectation for this season, the second of a five-year, $125 million contract, "is to be back to my old self, running around, playing not too reckless, but being myself. Not taking it easy, but just playing."
"I'm excited about this year," Hamilton said.
Freese won't rub it in with ex-Rangers on Angels
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Six players from that epic seven-game 2011 World Series are now in camp with the Angels, with three from the Rangers (Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson, Yorvit Torrealba) and three from the Cardinals (Albert Pujols, David Freese, Fernando Salas).
The hero from that Fall Classic promises that when it comes to the former Rangers who are now his teammates, all that is in the rearview mirror.
"They're Angels," Freese, who batted .348/.464/.696 as the 2011 World Series MVP, said upon arriving to Angels camp on Sunday morning. "I don't even really think about the World Series too much anymore."
Freese carried a historic postseason performance into a highly productive 2012 season that saw him bat .293/.372/.467. Last year, though, he bruised his tailbone flipping over a railing in Spring Training, started the season on the disabled list, lost a lot of his range at third base, saw his slash line drop to .262/.340/.381 in the regular season, then posted a .526 OPS in the Cardinals' run to the World Series.
He's fully healthy now, with a fresh state of mind.
"There's an excitement, an edge, I have coming here," Freese said. "It's going to help mentally."
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.