Angels' Summer Camp workouts get underway

Halos hold team Zoom call; Ohtani throws bullpen session

July 3rd, 2020

ANAHEIM -- The Angels held their first workouts of Summer Camp at Angel Stadium and Long Beach State’s Blair Field on Friday, with intrasquad games set to start on Wednesday.

Angels manager Joe Maddon explained that position players will be set in terms of either working out at Angel Stadium or Blair Field, as the "A" team will essentially train in Anaheim. The pitchers, however, are a bit more fluid, as they’ll have to go back and forth between the two facilities because of a lack of enough bullpen mounds at Angel Stadium. Pitchers will also perform their defensive drills in Long Beach instead of Anaheim.

“We’re trying not to beat up this field nearly as much so we can maintain the integrity for the season,” Maddon said. “The back and forth will be primarily with the pitchers over the first five days. Once we get to the games, those guys [in Long Beach] are the road team every day.”

Among the position players who worked out at Angel Stadium were outfielder Mike Trout, third baseman Anthony Rendon, utilityman David Fletcher, shortstop Andrelton Simmons, first baseman Albert Pujols, left fielder Justin Upton, right fielder Brian Goodwin, second baseman Tommy La Stella, catcher Jason Castro and outfielder Taylor Ward. Two-way star Shohei Ohtani threw a bullpen session, while others who threw included Dylan Bundy, Griffin Canning, Ryan Buchter, Mike Mayers and Jacob Barnes. Maddon said 9-10 players didn’t attend the first day of workouts, but he declined to say why.

The workout at Angel Stadium didn’t look much different than a typical Spring Training practice, outside of more social distancing between the players, who worked out in small groups. The outfielders were on the field first, and once they were done, the infielders began their workouts. Players took batting practice, ran the bases and took part in defensive drills. Several players, such as Trout, wore a mask while working out.

Maddon said the workouts will look similar until Wednesday, when the intrasquad games begin at Angel Stadium at 1 p.m. PT. Maddon said the players training in Long Beach will come in as the visiting team, as it’ll essentially be the Angels' regulars playing against the "scout team," as general manager Billy Eppler calls it. Maddon said it’ll be a similar feel to Cactus League play, but they have more leeway because of relaxed rules during the games.

Angels hold team-wide Zoom call
Ahead of Friday’s workout, Maddon hosted a Zoom call on Thursday with all of the players in the Angels' 60-man player pool and the coaches so that everyone was on the same page coming into Summer Camp and they could discuss any issues they had.

“We had over 100 people on the call to try to talk about everything openly and make sure everybody had all the facts and everybody can make an informed decision,” Maddon said. “It was very upfront, honest as it could possibly be. Transparent. And we went through the whole process last night. We’re continuing to do that with the training staff and medical staff. We’re here to answer all their questions. We want to make sure that they make an informed decision.”

Outside of Trout, who said Friday that he still has some trepidation about playing in 2020 because his wife, Jessica, is pregnant, Maddon said he hadn’t heard of any other Angels players on the fence about electing not to play this season. But he wants to make sure every player on the roster is informed about the protocols this year to keep everybody safe.

“There is trepidation, of course, both in the industry and not,” Maddon said. “We’re going to be very honest. I will say this, though: The protocol has really been well thought out. I’ve been very impressed with the different layers involved. My goodness, they had to sit down for a while and figure all this out. It’s going to take us a bit to get through the uncomfortable, inconvenient nature of the day and make it become more normal, but it’s pretty impressive MLB put this all together.”

Angels tidbits
• Left-hander Dillon Peters is the lone Angels player dealing with an injury, as he has an oblique strain dating back to Spring Training and isn’t expected to be fully healthy until mid-July.

• The Angels had cutouts of fans in a section down the left-field line near the foul pole, but Maddon said he’s not sure if they will use cutouts during the regular season, or if they’ll pipe in crowd noise.

• Maddon reiterated that Ohtani is fully healthy and ready to serve as a two-way player to open the season. In addition to his Friday bullpen session, Ohtani will continue to take batting practice to get ready as a designated hitter.

“He’s doing great,” Maddon said. “He looks great, he looks really good in the batter’s box, too. The guys that have been around him more than I have are really impressed with where he’s at right now, what he looks like, physical shape. I just keep hearing from the coaches that have seen him in the past how good he looks right now.”