3/10/2014 9:18 P.M. ET
New offseason routine has Romine ready to compete
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Andrew Romine had just completed the 2013 season, was headed into the offseason of his first out-of-options year and knew he needed to bulk up.
And so, while on a flight with his wife, Kathryn, who just so happens to be a fitness trainer and nutritionist, the two mapped out a workout regimen and diet that would ultimately add 20 pounds of lean body mass to Romine's frame, putting the 6-foot-1 infielder at 200 pounds by the time he arrived for Spring Training.
"She did the shopping," Romine said, "because I knew I wouldn't buy the healthy stuff."
Romine is a prime candidate to win the Angels' utility-infield job for a second straight year, and he is hoping it turns out different this time around.
Last spring, he looked like the clear favorite with Maicer Izturis agreeing to a three-year contract with the Blue Jays the previous winter. But he reached base only four times in 25 plate appearances in the first month, then spent the next three-and-a-half months in Triple-A Salt Lake, and he only played semi-regularly in September because the Angels had nobody else to man third base.
This offseason, Romine lifted weights from the start and ate five full meals a day -- which isn't all that fun when everything you eat is healthy.
"A lot of people don't realize that because it's such a long season, we're breaking down throughout the whole season," Romine said. "It's nearly impossible to build strength during the season, so it's basically come in and try to maintain where you're at. So I was thinking if I came in heavier and a little bit stronger, then I can maintain."
Romine, who walked three times and drove in two runs in Monday's 8-3 win over the Indians, finds himself in a head-to-head battle with veteran John McDonald -- though Grant Green may loom as a dark-horse candidate if he can handle shortstop and third base.
McDonald, 39, has the experience of succeeding as a backup for many years and may have a slight edge defensively. Romine's edge comes from his speed -- one he doesn't feel he's lost despite the added weight.
"There's really no point in worrying about it," Romine said of his standing with the team. "I can think about it all I want, but that's not going to change anything. They make their decisions in their meeting rooms based off how I perform, so basically all I can do is go out and perform."
Weaver has some hiccups, but isn't worried
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It wasn't an easy third spring start for Angels ace Jered Weaver. He faced six batters each in the first and third innings, expended over 60 pitches by the time he completed four and wound up giving up three runs on five hits and two walks while on his way to recording 13 outs against the Indians in the Angels' 8-3 win at Goodyear Ballpark on Monday.
"Obviously a lot of pitches," Weaver said after a 78-pitch, 4 1/3-inning outing, "but the location and stuff will come in the next couple starts."
Weaver -- with a 3.18 ERA in 11 1/3 Cactus League innings -- focused on spotting his fastball on the inside corner early on, then mixed in plenty of breaking balls and changeups late. He gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in the first, then one run on two hits and a walk in the third. But he struck out three of his last five hitters and, most importantly, finished it feeling healthy.
The 31-year-old right-hander said he typically doesn't worry about results "until the last start before the season. Then I pitch the way I do during the season. Until then, I'm just trying to work on stuff."
Hamilton progressing toward return with agility drills
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton did agility drills on the field Sunday, planned to do straight-ahead sprints on Monday and could make his spring debut as early as Thursday, though the Angels' outfielder doesn't want to put a precise time frame on his recovery.
"Nobody can win with time frames," Hamilton said.
Tuesday will mark exactly two weeks -- the minimum amount of time he was expected to be out -- since Hamilton strained his left calf during a baserunning drill. Shortly after that, the 32-year-old outfielder ditched the crutches, began hitting and throwing off one leg, then progressed towards running on a treadmill and hitting on the field.
Hamilton typically likes to get somewhere between 45 and 55 at-bats to get ready for the regular season, and he feels he'll have enough time to get that if he returns by the end of the week.
Recovering lefty Burnett throws off mound
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Sean Burnett stood on a bullpen mound on Sunday and fired 30 fastballs to a catcher in a crouched position, but it wasn't his first bullpen session, per se.
"It looks like a bullpen," Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher said, "but it's not a bullpen. … He's still building into a bullpen."
But the fact that he executed it well and felt good the next day was nonetheless the latest, most positive step in Burnett's recovery from August left forearm surgery. Burnett, who played light catch on Monday morning, was expected to throw off the 10-foot-wide rehab slope that sits behind the bullpen mound on Sunday, but the lefty reliever instead threw fastballs off the rubber and called it "a really good bullpen for being seven months [away from] the mound."
Simply throwing at a downhill angle was something he wasn't able to do after his injury last season, making only 13 appearances and never quite getting healthy.
"I felt good," Burnett said. "Obviously, there was some fatigue towards the end. The big thing was to come in today and see how it was going to feel, and I feel pretty good. … I feel loose. I don't feel like there's anything restricting. I feel normal soreness. Everything was positive, and hopefully we'll do it again here in a couple days."
Mike Scioscia said throwing a full-fledged bullpen session is "the next progression." The Angels' manager estimated on Thursday that it would be "a week to 10 days" before Burnett throws what's considered a traditional bullpen session, which would make a return by Opening Day questionable, and that timeline doesn't appear to have changed.
Most importantly, Burnett, 31, has felt good every step of the way as his recovery progresses.
"They're going to make the decision," Burnett said of being ready by Opening Day on March 31. "My job is to be ready and to try to make it a tough decision for them. At the same time, I'm conservative enough to know that it's my body; don't push it too much. Yesterday was positive. Didn't push it too much, but I got good results out of it. Obviously there was a little bit of fatigue at the end, but that's normal."
• Angels reliever Dane De La Rosa continues to get treatment on his right forearm. He was diagnosed with a strain after exiting Thursday's game early, and could start throwing again on Wednesday or Thursday.
• First baseman Albert Pujols had the day off on Monday after playing in three games in a row (he served as the designated hitter against the Reds on Sunday). Pujols wants to play in segments of three in a row from now until Opening Day.
• Third baseman David Freese missed his third straight game with a blister on the bottom of his foot. Scioscia said he's hopeful of getting him back in the lineup on Tuesday, but won't rush him if he isn't ready.
• The Angels cut five additional players on Monday: Left-handers Michael Roth and Justin Thomas and right-handers Jarrett Grube, Michael Morin and Mark Sappington. Roth, the only one on the 40-man roster, was optioned to Triple-A, while the rest were re-assigned to Minor League camp. Roth, 24, could still start the season in Double-A Arkansas, though.
• Jim Abbott, who won 47 games and posted a 3.49 ERA from 1989-92 with the Angels despite being born without a right hand, is in camp this week to serve as a special guest instructor.
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.