LA Angels Insider 2016 Spring Training Tracker

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Welcome to the relaunched LA Angels Insider, where we’re kicking things off with the 2016 Spring Training Tracker. This will be a running post, and will update frequently until Opening Day. In addition to our own original content, we will be sharing articles and tweets from Angels beat writers Alden Gonzalez of MLB.comJeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times, and will occasionally feature reports from writers around Major League Baseball.

Here are the latest headlines from Angels camp:

Previous Headlines:

  • After preparing to redesign his delivery due to a shoulder ailment, C.J. Wilson learned that he’ll be shut down for 8-10 days because of what is actually tendinitis. Mike Scioscia addressed the media on Friday and speculated that the lefty could be out for significant time to start the season. And that means at least the first month. The timetable is unknown, but it looks like the door is wide open now for that spot to be locked down by one of the Angels’ promising young starters.
  • Speaking of promising young starters and locking down a spot (and recovering from injury), Tyler Skaggs threw two innings in Thursday’s preseason game against the Chicago White Sox. Tyler gave up one earned run and only threw one ball. His fastball was about 91-93, and he looked just as he did before he went down with a torn ulnar collateral ligament on July 31, 2014, which resulted in Tommy John Surgery. It has been nearly two years, and Skaggs is making significant progress towards returning to the Halos’ rotation.
  • On a lighter subject, its great to have Ron Roenicke back!

  • Another Spring Training Minute, where Jose Mota and Alex Curry talk about new Angels General Manager Billy Eppler:

  • Gonzalez has a interesting piece on bullpen management. If you’re one those who think Mike Scioscia‘s bullpen management has been lackluster, well here’s the thing: bullpen management throughout Major League Baseball is still archaic. It’s one of those areas that has been way behind as far as using analytics to assess match ups and to build a team’s bullpen. Managers all over the game are still using the traditional late innings roles when data has shown that it’s wiser to bring your best reliever in when the game is on the line and not just in the ninth inning. In fact, this was a practice that was once used to a degree until the mid-nineteen eighties when the closer role evolved into an all important position. Now, teams are beginning to rethink their bullpen construction and usage strategies. And top relievers have already given their opinions. It’s a fascinating read with a video clip attached.
  • Jered Weaver has a bulging disc in his neck and has been relegated to bullpen sessions. He claims it’s not related to his decline in velocity, but there are skeptics who are thinking otherwise. This may not out Weave on the disabled list, but the club is being cautious as of right now.
  • While recovering from season ending surgery to remove bone spurs, C.J. Wilson had a setback earlier this spring that made him questionable for Opening Day. Now, according to Fletcher, the lefty starter is feeling discomfort in his throwing shoulder, which may out him out for the first month or two of the season. Although this further opens the door for younger starters to make their mark in the Halos’ rotation, it’s $20 million dollars that will begin to go into the paper shredder.
  • Tyler Skaggs took a major step toward starting games again for the Halos!

  • Gonzalez caught up with reliever Cory Rasmus and talked with the righty about his journey to the Big Leagues. Rasmus explained how at one point he was resigned to the thought that he likely would never reach the Majors, as he was plagued with shoulder issues early in his professional career. Rasmus has never worried about it much since then, and that may have helped him become successful (when healthy) with the Angels in 2014.
  • Jered Weaver underwent an MRI on Wednesday to figure out the stiffness in his neck that had caused him to throw a whopping 79 miles per hour that day. According to a tweet by DiGiovanna, further tests revealed that Weave has mild degenerative cervical displacement in his upper spine. This is a condition that causes tension in the neck and shoulders, and really inhibit a pitcher’s ability to throw a hard fastball. The Angels will not shut the former ace down entirely; however, he will miss one scheduled start to try and sort it all out. The Angels are not expecting Weaver to be the leading horse in their rotation in 2016, but they could sure use the help of at least a average Jered Weaver that can at least get back into the mid-to-upper eighties with his fastball. But that may be unlikely. Only time will tell.
  • David Freese signed a one-year, $3 million dollar deal with the Pirates. And for all those fans out there who love to trash their own team without actually reading about their own team and learning all of the facts…

  • On a more positive note, Gonzalez has a report on CJ Cron‘s first base defense and his instruction from new coach Mike Gallego. It would appear that Cron is making strides with the glove, and is developing skills that would help an infield that really has only one truly good defender. Since the Halos are returning to the more aggressive, versatile, and run-prevention-minded approach of years past, this is a priority for the club as they prepare to bounce back and make up that one game difference.

Player Transactions for March 10:

Previous spring headlines:

  • Recovering from surgery is no easy task for a pitcher, and it now appears that lefty starters CJ Wilson and Tyler Skaggs will not be ready for Opening Day. Wilson is coming back from his third procedure to remove bone spurs from his elbow, and Skaggs is throwing nearly two years after Tommy John Surgery. Although neither will be likely be ready for the start of the season, there is still a chance that both could just miss one start or two.
  • Is Hollywood in the mix for Daniel Nava? Apparently, producers contacted the left fielder about making his story to the Big Leagues into a movie. Gonzalez has the details and chronicles Nava’s journey from equipment manager of his college team to hitting the first pitch he saw in the Majors for a grand slam.
  • In case anyone was wondering where Andrew Heaney was…

  • On Friday, Jered Weaver talked about his first spring start.

  • Efren Navarro was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk by the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. After being DFA’d and traded by the Angels to the O’s, the left-handed swinging outfielder elected free agency. Navarro, 29, has a .246/.303/.324 line with a whopping one homerun in 280 plate appearances in the Majors. Far cry from the minors, where he posted .316/.378/.449 with 32 home runs in 2344 plate appearances at Triple-A Salt Lake. With the glove, Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved at first base and in left field are much nicer to Navarro, but still in small sizes. Navarro figured to compete for the Halos’ left field job, and there is always the possibility that the franchise leader in minor league games played can return.
  • Alden had to amend an earlier report…

  • While starting his tenure as a special instructor at spring camp, former Angels fan favorite Vladimir Guerrero expressed that there’s a chance he may go into the Hall of Fame as an Angel, since there is no team in Montreal.
  • While talks occurred between the Angels and third baseman David Freese, the club never actually made a formal offer. The Halos instead acquired Yunel Escobar from the Washington Nationals. It boggles the mind that Freese is still a free agent, and some players even expressed that about Freese, along with his presence on the field and in the clubhouse. Since camp has opened, there’s a chance Freese’s asking price might have dropped considerably.
  • Fletcher has an update on CJ Wilson!

  • Tyler Skaggs is throwing and Fletcher has some news!

  • After vowing to cut down on strikeouts (and doing it) going into 2015, the best player on the planet is now heading into the 2016 season with the declaration that he will steal more bases. it appears confidence was the issue for Mike Trout, and he is planning on stealing more this season. He may perhaps put up similar stolen bases totals as he did in his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2012. Since then his stealing totals have dropped considerably.
  • Not much has been reported about Cliff Pennington…

    This post will update as stories develop.