Freese not focused on coming free agency
Angels 3B has hit .364 since coming off DL on Sept. 1
SEATTLE -- When the Angels' season ends, veteran third baseman David Freese will gear up for his first run at free agency.
How much has he thought about it?
"Zero times," Freese said, with a hearty laugh, prior to Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Seattle at Safeco Field. "That's my answer to you. I'm not thinking about it; trying not to think about it. We're in a very important, special situation out here, and we're trying to take care of this."
And Freese is doing everything he can.
Since returning on Sept. 1 from a fractured right index finger -- an injury that occurred exactly eight weeks ago on Wednesday -- Freese has batted .364/.391/.477, bringing some much-needed punch to the bottom of the Angels' lineup and perhaps driving up his own price tag for the winter.
If Pirates third baseman Aramis Ramirez follows through on his recent proclamations to retire, Freese will probably be the best third baseman available this offseason.
The other full-time third basemen -- not counting utility players like Mike Aviles and Daniel Murphy -- are Juan Uribe, Casey McGehee and Alberto Callaspo. Uribe leads the group with a career FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement score of 24.5, but he's four years older, turning 37 in March. Freese is 32, like the three others, and has compiled a career fWAR of 10.8. Callaspo is next at 7.9 and McGehee's is 4.1.
The Angels, who must first decide on a new general manager, like Freese's power and clubhouse presence and would probably be interested in bringing him back at a reasonable price. If not, they can go with either one of their two third-base prospects, Kaleb Cowart or Kyle Kubitza.
"All I'm thinking about is my opportunity to play with this group," said Freese, who has a .725 OPS this year, after posting a .704 OPS in 2014 and .721 in 2013. "I don't know what the future holds. Tonight can be my last game, for all I know. You really don't know, so there's really no sense in worrying about it. You worry about tonight."
• Ryan Jackson started at second base on Wednesday, in place of Taylor Featherston, who had started every game in September and had one hit in his last 20 at-bats. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he just wanted to give him a break.
• David Murphy remained in the leadoff spot on Wednesday, one day after hitting a critical three-run homer against Felix Hernandez in only his fifth career start there. The move allowed Mike Trout to bat third and Albert Pujols to serve as the cleanup hitter, with Kole Calhoun batting second.
• Johnny Giavotella (fourth nerve palsy) continues to take batting practice and is closing in on a return. The Angels' second baseman said his vision is "not 100 percent yet, but it's very close."
• Matt Shoemaker (right forearm strain) felt good one day after throwing a two-inning simulated game and will throw a light bullpen session on Thursday. If that goes well, he'll start Sunday's series finale against the Twins.