2/21/2014 5:56 P.M. ET
Freese pays respect to Musial with new number
By Jose M. Romero / Special to MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- David Freese couldn't help but smile at the thought of Stan Musial when asked if he'd changed his uniform number from 23 to 6 in honor of the late St. Louis Cardinals legend.
"It's obviously something that crossed my mind, being a Cardinal and being around Stan," said the new Angels third baseman, who played for St. Louis for the last five seasons. "It's just an honor to kind of wear his number. I don't think I look at it and not think about him for sure."
Freese has a special connection to the Hall of Famer known to many as "Stan the Man," who passed away in January of last year. He's close friends with a grandson of Musial and recalls seeing Musial often at Busch Stadium. Musial enjoyed coming to talk baseball with players and staff, Freese said Friday.
"Just to wear his number is an honor and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be around him when he'd come to the field. Going to his wake, that was a tough thing ... it was a blessing to be around a guy like Stan and understand what he was all about."
Shuck looking to build on solid 2013 season
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels outfielder J.B. Shuck is in Spring Training trying to earn a spot as a reserve outfielder. This after the 26-year-old put up some solid numbers in 2013, hitting .293 in 129 games with eight stolen bases and 39 RBIs.
Shuck said he learned a lot about what it's like to be in the Majors every day. He spent the winter working out more and refining his swing to come into camp ready to keep his place on the big league roster.
Shuck worked out with a trainer on his mobility and flexibility, and feels he's in better shape this year.
"I try and do my thing. I don't really focus on who else is in camp or who else is trying to compete for the same spot as I am," Shuck said. "I just go and try to do what I can, and if it's good enough, it will get me there. If not, I'll keep working."
Shuck isn't resting on his laurels from his production last season, telling himself he has to earn a spot on the team again. The Angels have two other veteran outfielders with significant Major League experience in camp vying for a backup job -- Brennan Boesch and Collin Cowgill.
The key to his success last season, he feels, was not trying to do too much.
"I knew I could hit if I got a chance, and that was what I kept telling myself," he said.
• The Angels hitters faced live pitching Friday for the first time at Spring Training. Among those pitchers who threw were Jered Weaver, Garrett Richards, Joe Smith Matt Shoemaker, Brandon Lyon and Hector Santiago. Shoemaker broke OF Josh Hamilton's bat with a pitch. The pitchers warmed up in the bullpen before taking the mound for a timed outing.
• Manager Mike Scioscia said outfield prospect Zach Borenstein is more than just a guy with power. "He's a strong kid and he's got the ability to drive the ball to all fields. I think the potential is there to be a really good Major League baseball player," Scioscia said. Borenstein, 23, is a non-roster invitee to Spring Training who hit .337 with 28 home runs and 95 RBIs for Class A Inland Empire last season. He was a 23rd-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
• Representatives from Majestic, the company that manufactures MLB team uniforms, were in the clubhouse Friday morning fitting players for their jersey and pant sizes. The Majestic folks were collecting the information to have the players outfitted in uniforms by Opening Day.
Jose M. Romero is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.