Results tagged ‘ Mike Napoli ’

Bombs away!

The Angels brought their hitting shoes to Surprise, obviously. They got here for early batting practice, and it clearly is paying off. They produced nine runs on 10 hits in two innings against southpaw Horacio Ramirez, with Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli going back-to-back with bombs to right center following a Robb Quinlan homer in the first inning. (Quinlan looks sensational, by the way). Jeff Mathis joined the homer party in the third inning with a near replica of Quinlan’s bullet to left center.

Scorching Matt Brown already tripled in a run and singled, joining Rivera with two hits. Rivera also singled home two runs in the first inning. Juan seems to have found his groove. On Saturday, in Tempe, he launched a ball so high and so far, the third-base umpire (Jim Joyce) was left to guess whether it cleared the foul pole in fair or foul territory. It was so far above and beyond the pole, there was no way to tell. From where he sat, Mike Scioscia obviously thought it was fair, prompting him to do a full-tilt sprint to Joyce to voice his disapproval.

Scioscia, I can report from personal experience, still can throw hard. He asked me to warm him up before throwing BP, and he zinged a few. I bounced a few throws back to him, to make sure he could still get down and dig ‘em out as in the days of old. The last time I did this probably was right about the time he was breaking in as a young catcher with the Dodgers in Dodgertown. I’ll see how my arm feels in the morning, but I’ll be icing the shoulder after the game just in case.

John Lackey yielded a solo homer to Ryan Shealy but got out of a jam in the third when he struck out Jose Guillen to leave two runners stranded. Apparently, a handful of Angels fans in the crowd haven’t forgiven Guillen for his indiscretions in his final days with Team Scioscia, serenading him with boos and catcalls in his plate appearances.   

Figgins stays hot

It might be off the radar somewhat, but Chone Figgins’ brilliant spring continues. The third baseman crushed his first homer of the spring on Wednesday, gving the Angels a 2-0 lead in the third inning behind Dustin Moseley.

DH Mike Napoli, who’d walked, stolen second — the big dude can motor — and moved to third on a wild pitch, scored ahead of Figgins.

Figgins is currently batting .375 in11 games. He has stolen five bases in six attempts and has been superb with the glove. His amazingly quick feet and reactions enabled him to take a hit away from White Sox catcher Donny Lucy with a diving stab on a ball headed to left field, giving Moseley the third out of a perfect second inning.

Reporting to camp, Figgins said his goal was to play all 162 games after freak injuries to his hand and hamstring cost him chunks of the past two seasons. He’s trying to recapture his reputation as a durable, consistent force in the leadoff spot, and he’s off and running.

Abreu cracks double, first hit as an Angel

Having gone hitless with a walk in his first two games in red, Bobby Abreu didn’t waste any time banging his first hit in an Angels uniform on Friday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Facing Rockies southpaw Greg Smith, part of  the deal that made Matt Holliday a member of the Athletics, Abreu smoked a line drive over the head of right fielder Matt Murton for a double in the bottom of the first inning. Hainley Statia, who’d walked leading off, scored on Freddy Sandoval’s sacrifice fly.

In the top of the second, Abreu had his first misadventure in left field. A fly ball by Clint Barmes got up in the sun and Abreu couldn’t find it, letting it fall for a triple. But Fernando Rodriguez, replacing Sean O’Sullivan after a two-run Colorado first, struck out two hitters to escape without yielding a run.

Abreu made it two doubles in two innings when he hit a sinking liner in front of Murton that kicked away from him far enough to allow Abreu — always an aggressive baserunner — to scoot into second. 

A double as his first Angels hit was fitting for Abreu, who has had 35 or more doubles every season since 1999, his second full season in the Majors with the Phillies.

Following a walk to Mike Napoli, Sean Rodriguez showed off his pop with a double off the wall in left, driving home Abreu and tying the game at 2.

Rodriguez, a superb athlete with big-time power to right center, has been working out at second and short exclusively so far this spring. But he is a natural center fielder who would love to expand his versatility by getting some time in the outfield. A catcher as a kid, he also feels he  could fill in behind the plate in an emergency.

Napoli passes shoulder test

Mike Napoli was beaming on Friday morning even before he saw the lineup card for the game against the Rockies featuring his name in the No. 4 slot as the Angels’ designated hitter.

Daybreak brought good news. Napoli woke feeling no pain in his right shoulder after testing it for the first time on Thursday since undergoing arthroscopic surgery in late October, cleaning up a little mess that had cost him a month of the second half.

“I threw 70, 75 feet, around 20, 25 times,” Napoli said. “It went well, and I’m not even sore today. I was a little worried how I’d feel when I got up, but it was fine, no pain.

“The last time I threw was the last game last season, so it’s been a while. I feel strong.”

Even if he’s not ready to cut loose with enough velocity to catch by the season opener on April 6, Napoli wants to make the 25-man roster as a DH until he’s ready to go behind the plate.

Manager Mike Scioscia has maintained that roster flexibility would go into that decision, which would force the club to carry a third catcher — Bobby Wilson or Ryan Budde — to back up Jeff Mathis. 

Napoli, Wood show muscle

Hitting fourth and fifth in the lineup in the Cactus League  opener, Mike Napoli and Brandon Wood didn’t waste any time flexing their muscles for the Angels.

After getting a hit taken away in the second inning by third baseman Josh Fields, Napoli — picking up where he left off with his torrid 2008 finish — launched a two-run double to left center in the third inning, giving the Angels a 3-2 lead over the White Sox.

Wood, who had backed Jermaine Dye to the wall in right in his first at-bat, had center fielder Jerry Owens climbing the wall in center to flag down his drive to end the inning against Octovio Dotel. Two at-bats, and Wood had launched about 750 feet worth of outs.

“I’m feeling more comfortable with my hands now,” Wood was saying before the game. “It took a while to get a feel for it, but it feels natural now. I think I’m getting to the ball a little quicker.”

Wood altered his stance last season, dropping his hands from a cocked position to give him a more direct path to the ball. He had his best month as an Angel in September, and he could be ready to take flight as a legitimate power presence.       

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