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Alberto Callaspo's arrival makes Angels' infield a little crowded

ANGELS FYI

Callaspo, acquired in a trade from Kansas City and the Angels' new starting third baseman, gives the team four players who can play that position and five who can play second base and shortstop. But the addition of a pitcher could change the dynamic.

July 23, 2010|By Ben Bolch

Reporting from Arlington, Texas —

The addition of Alberto Callaspo gives the Angels four players who can play third base and five who can play second base and shortstop.

Are there too many Angels in the infield?

The surplus of players at the positions is largely a result of having an 11-man pitching staff, meaning there might not be room for all six infielders if the Angels add an extra reliever.

With Brandon Wood out of minor league options, the most likely odd man out appears to be Kevin Frandsen, who could be sent to triple-A Salt Lake. But Manager Mike Scioscia said Frandsen's production makes him a valuable asset.

"Right now where we are at this point in the season, if guys are swinging the bat well they're going to play," Scioscia said. "I think Kevin's shown the ability not only to put the ball in play but be a good situational hitter."

Scioscia said his team's infield depth would allow him "to experiment a little bit with some guys." Frandsen, who entered Friday's game against the Texas Rangers hitting .294, made only his third start of the season at first base.

Having extra infielders, Scioscia said, would also allow him to get favorable matchups against opposing pitchers while keeping heavily used Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick fresh.

"Hopefully," Scioscia said, "it's going to create more offense."

So happy together

Aybar sat in front of Callaspo's locker before the game, laughing and conversing in Spanish with his longtime friend.

The former minor league double-play partners were reunited after 4½ seasons apart, with Callaspo making his first start with the Angels since being acquired Thursday from Kansas City.

"It was the team that signed me," Callaspo said of the Angels. "I grew up with this team. I'm pretty excited."

Although Callaspo is expected to primarily play third base, he said he also felt comfortable at the middle-infield positions. He is developing some power, with all 19 of his career home runs having come in the last two seasons.

"Lucky," Callaspo joked. "I just made good contact."

Callaspo had trouble driving the ball in the 25 games preceding his Angels debut, collecting two extra-base hits. He said a sore left wrist might have contributed to his struggles and that he was trying to get back to his old approach. The wrist no longer bothers him, Callaspo said.

Coverage plan

One day after plays by outfielders Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu caused some consternation in the clubhouse, Scioscia said his team had "adequate range" in the outfield.

"We're going to make the plays that we need to make," Scioscia said. "I think everyone's moving at the same pace [as last year]. I don't think anybody's lost anything to where you say, 'This guy has lost two steps here and we're having trouble covering this gap.' "

Scioscia said Abreu got a late break on Vladimir Guerrero's sixth-inning double to right-center Thursday night because "it was tough to see if [the ball] was going to be right at Howie [second baseman Kendrick] or where it was going to be." Rivera failed to come close to catching a subsequent run-scoring double to left-center off the bat of Josh Hamilton.

Short hops

As expected, Trevor Bell will make his first start of the season for the Angels on Sunday against Texas. The right-hander, who has a 6.05 earned-run average in 15 relief appearances, said he was capable of throwing 100 pitches. . . . Reliever Brian Stokes, on the disabled list because of right shoulder fatigue, threw off a bullpen mound for the first time Thursday and said the discomfort in his shoulder had subsided. He is next scheduled to throw an extended bullpen session Sunday. . . . Hideki Matsui had the day off.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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