At the conclusion of Tuesday’s workout at Tempe Diablo Stadium, Angels manager Mike Scioscia held an impromptu hitting contest among his catchers.
With Scioscia serving up soft tosses, the receivers took their cuts. The prize for longest drive went, not surprisingly, to Mike Napoli when he unloaded a towering drive to left that bounced off a truck passing by on an access road beyond the trees at the back of an embankment.
“Nap killed it,” Scioscia said.
“He must not have gotten the memo,” Napoli said of the truck driver.
“Imagine what that guy was thinking,” Bobby Wilson said, “just driving by and then he hears something crash.”
Napoli, who said he hasn’t felt this good in the spring since his rookie year of 2006, is crushing balls in batting practice. Best buddy Jeff Mathis, meanwhile, is lashing line drives to all fields, hoping to maintain the stroke he carried through the postseason with five doubles among his seven hits in 12 at-bats.
Wilson also went deep against his manager, while Ryan Budde — arguably the team’s strongest individual — unloaded several bombs.
Scioscia routinely begins the day with a pre-game address that features a wide range of hilarious exchanges, usually involving young players asked to make unusual presentations. Roars can be heard outside the clubhouse on a daily basis, but the audience is sworn to secrecy.
What happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse.