TEMPE, Ariz. -- When the Angels finished their 26th spring game on Saturday, a 9-8 win over the Padres, they ranked second in the Majors in batting average (.312), second in on-base percentage (.373) and fourth in slugging (.482).It's only Spring Training, of course. But it's a positive sign from
TEMPE, Ariz. -- When the Angels finished their 26th spring game on Saturday, a 9-8 win over the Padres, they ranked second in the Majors in batting average (.312), second in on-base percentage (.373) and fourth in slugging (.482).
It's only Spring Training, of course. But it's a positive sign from the area that gave them the most trouble last summer and was easily their biggest concern entering camp.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia believes that "the depth of our offense is showing up much earlier in this spring than it ever evolved to last year," and it isn't really about the aggregate numbers.
"What we look at is probably a little different from what you're looking at," Scioscia said. "You're looking at what they're hitting as a team, how many runs they're scoring, what's their OPS. I think, in Arizona especially, you're looking at the quality of the at-bats, you're looking at guys getting a pitch to hit and putting a good swing on it."
Scioscia referenced the left-field platoon of Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry, combining to go 30-for-77 with 10 strikeouts, and leadoff hitter Yunel Escobar, who has been on base more than half the time. Kole Calhoun (.835 OPS), Mike Trout (1.131), Albert Pujols (.832), Carlos Perez (.821) and Geovany Soto (1.224) have all provided encouragement at the plate.
Scioscia can only hope it spills into the regular season.
"I would say right now there's no comparison to where we are offensively as opposed to where we were last year," he said. "We're much better."
• The Angels have agreed to terms on a Minor League contract with right-handed reliever Deolis Guerra, who was originally taken in the Rule 5 Draft last December. Guerra slipped through waivers and initially elected free agency, but will now begin the season at Triple-A Salt Lake.
• The Angels sent five players to Minor League camp on Saturday: catcher Juan Graterol, starter Yunesky Maya, reliever Ramon Ramirez, and outfielders Nick Buss and Quintin Berry. Their Spring Training roster is down to 38 players with only eight days remaining until Opening Day.
• The Angels have released Trevor Gretzky, son of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, who was originally acquired in exchange for Scioscia's son, Matt. The younger Gretzky is a 23-year-old left fielder who has batted .259/.306/.332 in the Minor Leagues and has yet to advance past Class A.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast.