3/8/2014 6:54 P.M. ET
Green working on proficiency at third base
By Chris Gabel / Special to MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Grant Green enjoyed a successful debut with the Angels late last season but, barring an injury, knows a utility role is his only way to crack the Angels' Opening Day roster.
There is plenty of competition for that spot, and Green must show he has the desired versatility.
Green is most comfortable at second base, where he played 40 games for the Angels last year after he was acquired from the A's for Alberto Callaspo. Green came up as a shortstop and treats the position like second nature.
How Green, known more for his bat than glove, handles his opportunities at third base may ultimately determine whether he starts the year in Anaheim or Triple-A Salt Lake.
"If you're not comfortable over there and they're not comfortable with you, you're not going to be the guy," Green said Saturday. "That's just something that all the guys fighting for it have to be comfortable with. The one they feel the most comfortable with is the guy who's going to be in the spot."
Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar and newcomer David Freese are the starters at second, shortstop and third.
Green is competing with Andrew Romine and non-roster invitee John McDonald. Both are considered better defenders, whereas Green holds an advantage with his bat.
"Howie and E and Freese all have their spots locked down, and rightfully so," Green said. "So this is the only spot open. So it's go for that or wait your time in Triple-A, which no one really wants to do."
Green, the 26-year-old former first-round pick, hit .280 with one home run and 16 RBIs last year for the Angels.
He paid close attention to the offseason trade rumors involving Kendrick, who also was reportedly shopped at last year's Trade Deadline. Nothing happened and Green is left to fight for a bench role.
"It's something we talked about last year, his ability to play the left side," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's been working very hard down on the lower fields with Alfredo [Griffin], Rick Eckstein and Keith Johnson. All those guys are working with him at shortstop and getting him acclimated to third base. It's going to be important for him to have that versatility."
Green, who was hitting .429 with four doubles in 14 at-bats through Friday's Cactus League action, has played twice at short and once at third this spring. Green committed a fielding error at third Friday.
"Short felt fine. At third, I'm just getting back into it," Green said. "I didn't really have a good game on either side of the ball. I don't have anything good to say about that. It was my first time over there in spring, so I'm going to be a little rusty.
"I've been working at both [positions] during workouts but you only get a certain amount of game-time experience during the spring. Yeah, I wish I had more just because of the way [Friday] went. It's just more and more game-time reps and getting used to throwing from that side of the diamond. It's something I have to get used to again. You can only do so much practice; you have to get those game-time reps. It's definitely something we'll be working on through the whole spring."
Hamilton making progress from calf strain
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, yet to play in a Cactus League game this spring, could make his debut within a week.
Hamilton strained his left calf during a baserunning drill 10 days ago, and the initial prognosis was he would miss at least two weeks. Hamilton will hit live batting practice on the field Sunday, manager Mike Scioscia said.
"We'll go from there," Scioscia said. "He's getting there and hopefully we'll see him in games in a week or so."
Hamilton, who has been running at 90 percent on a treadmill in recent days, previously said he usually needs between 45 and 55 plate appearances to be ready for the regular season.
Blanton's role in limbo after rocky outing
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Coming off a rough season in 2013, right-hander Joe Blanton's second spring start Friday did not go well. Blanton gave up seven runs, including four home runs, and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Rockies.
"He showed better deception and command the first time out; [Friday] the command just wasn't there," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He missed with some fastballs that guys squared up."
Scioscia mentioned Blanton as a candidate for a rotation spot, though he is on the outside right now.
Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs appear to have the edge after C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver and Garrett Richards.
"For us to go where we need to go ... those five guys are going to have to stay healthy and get the lion's share of the starts," Scioscia said.
A move to the bullpen as a long reliever could be a possibility for Blanton, though pitching coach Mike Butcher dismisses the idea.
"He's a starting pitcher," Butcher said. "Plain and simple, he's a starting pitcher."
"His velocity is fine. It's just a matter of executing pitches," Butcher added. "Obviously he wants to pitch well and hopefully next time he gets back on the bump he pitches well. ... We'll see how he bounces back and gets back at it his next outing."
• Mike Trout, who has not played in an Angels road game this spring, did not play in Saturday's home game against the D-backs. It was a scheduled day off, Scioscia said.
Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.