The Angels left the Cactus League behind Saturday having developed some prickly problems during their six-week stay in Arizona.
TEMPE, Ariz. — The Angels left the Cactus League behind Saturday having developed some prickly problems during their six-week stay in Arizona.
Their hopes of having Kendrys Morales in their lineup to start the season melted in the spring sun.
Three other players will join him on the disabled list to start the season, impacting every area of the team — the everyday lineup (Morales), the starting rotation (Joel Pineiro), the bullpen (Scott Downs) and the bench (Reggie Willits).
Unresolved as well is the Scott Kazmir reclamation project. Kazmir will open the season in the starting rotation depleted by Pineiro’s delay, but he’ll take all of last season’s issues and baggage along with him.
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“In some ways, we’re really pleased with what we were able to accomplish this spring. In some ways, yeah, there’s still some question marks we came into camp hoping to clear up and we don’t have as much clarity as we’d like,” manager Mike Scioscia said.
“I don’t think there’s ever a spring when you don’t anticipate somebody being behind.”
Morales and Downs traveled to California and are expected to be re-evaluated Monday. Optimistically, Downs (broken toe) could be cleared to start throwing off a mound.
Morales’ situation remains murky.
Pineiro, Willits and right-hander Trevor Bell will stay behind in Arizona with Pineiro expected to pitch in minor-league camp games Tuesday and Sunday before being activated from the DL to make his belated season debut in the Angels’ home opener against Toronto on April 8.
Willits (strained calf muscle) has stamina issues to address, Scioscia said, as he begins to participate in minor-league camp games.
Bell was set back by a sore shoulder early in camp and needs to extend his pitch count before a likely assignment to the starting rotation in Class AAA.
The Angels will open the season with four starting pitchers (Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Kazmir) and seven relievers.
When Pineiro is ready, the former Mariner likely will make it a 12-man pitching staff.
That leaves a temporary opening for a position player, an opening for which catcher Hank Conger seems the most likely candidate.
Conger could open the season with the Angels, then be optioned to AAA to make room for Pineiro on April 8 and miss almost no playing time as the Pacific Coast League season begins April 7.