ANAHEIM -- The Angels seemingly upgraded their left side of the infield over the offseason, adding a slick-fielding shortstop in Andrelton Simmons and a legitimate on-base threat in converted third baseman Yunel Escobar. But when Erick Aybar and David Freese departed, they also lost some leadership.Now there's a void in
ANAHEIM -- The Angels seemingly upgraded their left side of the infield over the offseason, adding a slick-fielding shortstop in Andrelton Simmons and a legitimate on-base threat in converted third baseman Yunel Escobar. But when Erick Aybar and David Freese departed, they also lost some leadership.
Now there's a void in the clubhouse that needs to be filled.
The question is, who will step up?
"When stuff starts hitting the fan and we're in the dog days and you need that veteran leadership, we'll find out," Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun said. "We'll find out. Because those are two tough people to replace. It's going to have to be some guys stepping up, it's going to have to be some guys who came in."
Freese, a former World Series MVP, was the guy who spoke up in meetings and wasn't afraid to challenge teammates. Aybar, who spent 10 years with the Angels, "led by example," Calhoun said, and had the respect of everyone in the room.
"Those guys were rocks," Calhoun said. "They came to the park every day ready to go. Good game, bad game, same people. We're going to need that from a different avenue now. That stuff kind of plays out during the season."
• After the Wednesday off-day, the Angels plan to start Hector Santiago on Thursday, Matt Shoemaker on Friday and Garrett Richards on Saturday, at home against the Rangers. Jered Weaver is tentatively slated to start on Sunday, which would push Andrew Heaney to Monday, in Oakland, on five days' rest.
• Angels manager Mike Scioscia previously said Simmons would remain at shortstop when the shift is on for left-handed pull hitters, causing Escobar to play in shallow right field, instead. Several times on Monday, though, the opposite occurred. Scioscia said they'll change it up based on counts and whether there's a runner on first base.
• Tyler Skaggs is tentatively scheduled to make his first start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday, though that is still subject to change. Skaggs last pitched at Angel Stadium on Saturday, throwing three sharp, scoreless relief innings in an exhibition game against the Dodgers, and would've been lined up for Thursday. He's working to build up innings in his return from Tommy John surgery.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast.