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Competition tight as Angels make final cuts

Hank Conger, J.B. Shuck and Brendan Harris will join Andrew Romine on opening-day roster.

March 30, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Infielder Brendan Harris, shown scoring against Oakland catcher Derek Norris in February, made the Angels' opening-day roster.
Infielder Brendan Harris, shown scoring against Oakland catcher Derek… (Jose Carlos Fajardo / Contra…)

The Angels closed their clubhouse to make final roster trims early Saturday afternoon. And that meant good news for catcher Hank Conger, outfielder J.B. Shuck and infielder Brendan Harris, who were selected to join infielder Andrew Romine on the team's opening-day roster.

For Shuck and Romine, it marked the first time they've made a big league team out of spring training and Conger had to overcome some throwing problems to beat out Chris Snyder and John Hester for the backup catcher's job.

Also making the team was reliever Mark Lowe, a seven-year veteran who signed with the Angels four days ago.

Manager Mike Scioscia said the competition for the final spots was keen, something that will help the team going forward.

"Overall, we're in a better position right now than we were last year at this time," Scioscia said. "We're only going to break with seven bullpen arms so there are guys that aren't going to start with us.

"There are also some guys on the offensive end that will have roles in the big leagues that aren't going to be starting with us.

"So that's good as an organization [but] a little tough for some individuals fighting for spots."

Shuck, 25, a nonroster invitee to spring training, had a 37-game trial two years ago with Houston, where he played all three outfield spots. A left-handed hitter, he hit .365 with 10 runs batted in this spring.

The equally versatile Harris, 32, another nonroster invitee, has played all four infield positions in a seven-year major league career with five teams. He hit .255 this spring.

And although Conger led the Angels with four spring-training errors, the switch-hitter also led the team with 16 RBIs and hit .359, giving him the advantage over the light-hitting Snyder and Hester.

Short hops

Infielder Luis Jimenez, who hit .244 with five RBIs in 45 at-bats, was selected winner of the Fred Haney Award, given annually to the outstanding rookie during spring training.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

twitter.com/kbaxter11

Times staff writer Mike Digiovanna contributed to this report.

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