2/23/2014 3:34 P.M. ET
Stewart gets helping hand from legendary Carew
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- It doesn't hurt to have a Hall of Famer in your corner, especially when you are competing for a spot on a big league roster.
Just ask veteran infielder Ian Stewart, who has spent the last two winters working out with Rod Carew in Southern California.
"The first year, there was some shock that comes with working with a Hall of Famer and a guy of his stature, but he's just a wonderful man and human being and he makes it easy," said Stewart, who is in camp on a Minor League deal. "He took me under his wing and worked his butt off for me. He took time away from his family to help me the best he could and I really appreciate that. He's a big reason why I am here with the Angels. I know he spoke up to the organization for me."
Stewart was a first-round Draft pick by the Rockies in 2003 and spent five of his first seven Major League seasons in Colorado. He spent all of 2012 and the first half the next season with the Cubs, but was later released, not long after the club suspended him for violating the team's loyalty clause. He finished last season at Triple-A with the Dodgers.
"I don't think Rod would teach anybody to hit the way he hit because it was so unique and it worked for him, but he just played to my strengths as a hitter," Stewart said. "For me, it was more about the mental side, how to track the ball better and recognize pitches better and how to hit pitches on certain areas of the plate. He never changed my stance and tried to work with what I already have."
Carew is friends with Stewart's agent, Larry Reynolds, but truth be told, the relationship between Stewart and Carew dates back more than two decades.
"About 20 years ago, I was at Disneyland, and at that time I knew all of the players and what they looked like," Stewart said. "I see Rod walking with his family, and I built up enough courage to talk to him and get his autograph. Obviously, he's not going to remember that, but I still have his autograph on my Disneyland ticket for the day. I think he acts like he remembers that day just for me."
Moran hoping to land role in Angels' bullpen
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Reliever Brian Moran is attempting to become the club's first Rule 5 Draft pick to make the big league club since Derrick Turnbow in 2000.
It's already been quite a ride for the left-handed pitcher, a former seventh round pick by the Mariners in 2009.
"I'll never forget how crazy it was for a half-hour or so," Moran said of the Rule 5 Draft. "It was about seven in the morning when I saw online I was picked by [the Blue Jays' spring complex] and I was really excited because my parents have a house in Florida close by. Then 10 minutes later it all changed and I'm with the Angels. That's great, too."
Moran should be excited. The additions of Prince Fielder (Rangers) and Robinson Cano (Mariners) in the American League West have made it imperative that teams like the Angels carry additional left-handed pitchers in their bullpens. Moran fractured his right foot at the end of last season, but said he is completely healthy.
"I'm just going to keep it simple and give it my best shot," said Moran, who has a 3.06 ERA in his five-year Minor League career. "We'll just see where the chips fall."
Griffin helping gather memorabilia for new museum
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels' first-base coach Alfredo Griffin spends his mornings working with infielders, but he spent his winter on a project much closer to home.
For the last few months, Griffin along with group led by former Major Leaguers Mario Soto and George Bell have been gathering historic memorabilia from the top players from Latin America for a baseball museum housed in a building outside of Quisqueya Stadium in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
"We want this to be a place where everyone, especially young players, can come in and learn about the history of the game," Griffin said. "They need to know who Jackie Robinson was and that Osvaldo Virgil was the first Dominican in the big leagues. It's important to know about players that came before them and paved the way, especially the Latinos."
The Angels struggled on defense overall last season and racked up 112 errors in 2013. Only the Brewers, White Sox and Astros committed more errors. They also ranked 27th in fielding percentage.
"We will be better," Griffin said. "We're healthy and working on every day. Being healthy is a big part."
• Angels manager Mike Scioscia and bench coach Dino Ebel along with members of the club's front office are scheduled to discuss the implementation of the new replay rule with Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, and his staff on Monday.
• The team focused on fundamentals and pitchers had a light workout day Sunday. Pitchers will resume throwing live batting practice on Monday.
"We are starting to get a little bit of a read on them and those guys looked good," Scioscia said.