ANAHEIM -- With Opening Day right around the corner, the Angels' 25-man roster was finalized late Saturday, as there were a few decisions that came down to the wire.The Angels settled on relievers Richard Parker and Bud Norris to round out the bullpen after a 4-4 tie against the Dodgers
ANAHEIM -- With Opening Day right around the corner, the Angels' 25-man roster was finalized late Saturday, as there were a few decisions that came down to the wire.
The Angels settled on relievers Richard Parker and Bud Norris to round out the bullpen after a 4-4 tie against the Dodgers in the Freeway Series on Saturday.
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Here's a final look at the 25-man roster in advance of Monday's opener in Oakland:
Catcher: Martin Maldonado, Carlos Perez
Not much has changed on the catching front for the Angels, who appear ready to open the season with Maldonado as their primary catcher. Maldonado, acquired from the Brewers over the offseason, has impressed the club with his defense, particularly the strength of his throwing arm, and entered Friday having started four of the last five exhibition games. He will split time behind the plate with Perez, who unveiled a revamped swing this spring and also figures to draw plenty of starts.
First base: C.J. Cron
Cron came into camp fighting for playing time with free-agent addition Luis Valbuena, but Valbuena suffered a strained right hamstring on March 22 and will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks. The injury opened the door for Cron to begin the season as the Angels' starting first baseman, a role he filled last season. Cron, 27, has enjoyed a strong spring at the plate and entered Friday batting .314 with four home runs and 11 RBIs.
Second base: Danny Espinosa
Espinosa remains on track to start at second base, plugging one of the Angels' key holes from last year. Espinosa, a Santa Ana native, was acquired from the Nationals over the winter and is slated to be a free agent at the end of the season.
Shortstop: Andrelton Simmons
Simmons has been slowed by lower back tightness, but he said he could play through it if it were the regular season. Barring any setbacks, Simmons will start at shortstop and team up with Espinosa to form a formidable double-play combination.
Third base: Yunel Escobar
Escobar missed some time this spring with an abdominal issue, but he now appears healthy and ready to serve as the Angels' everyday third baseman and leadoff hitter.
Designated hitter: Jose Pujols
There was some question as to whether Pujols would be available for the start of the season following his December foot surgery, which called for a four-month recovery, but the 37-year-old slugger progressed well and is now projected to be in the Angels' Opening Day lineup. Pujols has not played the field this spring, but he's been participating in defensive drills and could occasionally see time at first base.
Utility: Cliff Pennington, Jefry Marte
Pennington had been expected to start the season as a reserve middle infielder, but Marte appeared to lose his spot on the Angels' 25-man roster when they signed Valbuena in January. Still, Valbuena's injury created an opening for Marte to break camp with the Major League team as a bench player. Marte will likely back up the corner infield spots, though he also has limited experience playing left field.
Outfield: Michael Trout, Cameron Maybin, Kole Calhoun, Ben Revere
Revere's hot spring, coupled with Maybin's cold start, sparked questions about whether the Angels would consider starting Revere in left field over Maybin. But Scioscia said Maybin's starting job is safe, though that could presumably change if Revere continues to produce off the bench. Overall, the Angels are projected to have a fast and dynamic outfield, with Trout in center, Maybin in left and Calhoun in right.
Starting pitching: Garrett Richards, Matthew Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs, Ricky Nolasco, Jesse Chavez
The Angels' fifth-starter competition was never that close, as Chavez pitched well all spring and has likely assured himself of a starting role, though nothing is official yet. Skaggs will open the season in the Angels' rotation after bouncing back well from his Minor League start against the Giants Thursday. Skaggs will make his next start on April 6 against the A's in Oakland.
Bullpen: Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Ramirez, Yusmeiro Petit, Jose Alvarez, Bud Norris and Blake Parker
Huston Street will start the season on the disabled list with a strained right lat, so Bedrosian is expected to open the season as the Angels' closer, with Bailey likely serving as the setup man. The Angels converted Ramirez into a starter this spring, and the 28-year-old performed well in the new role, but he'll likely have a hard time cracking the rotation and seems more likely to wind up in the bullpen. Petit came into camp as a non-roster invitee but earned a spot on the team after recording a 0.64 ERA over 14 innings. Norris, who has posted a 2.92 ERA over 12 1/3 innings, did the same. Alvarez seems like a good bet to make the bullpen as the only left-handed reliever left in camp. The final spot, however, remains tough to predict. Parker, claimed off waivers from the Brewers, made a strong case for himself after recording a 0.79 ERA over 11 1/3 innings, with his last 14 outs coming via strikeout.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.