Notes: Fletcher near return; Marsh trying 1B

September 12th, 2020

Angels second baseman took batting practice on the field before Friday’s series opener against the Rockies at Coors Field and said he believes he’ll be ready to be activated from the injured list on Saturday.

Fletcher, who has been out since Aug. 30 with a sprained left ankle, also took some grounders and ran the bases to test his ankle. He said he didn’t feel any pain during the drills and was pleased with the way it went.

"It's feeling good," Fletcher said. "I'm pretty much good to go. I'm feeling good and hoping I can get in there tomorrow."

Fletcher, 26, is batting .313/.377/.438 with three homers, nine doubles, 13 RBIs and 24 runs scored in 35 games this season. With Fletcher out, Luis Rengifo has mostly been filling in at second base, while shortstop Andrelton Simmons has served as leadoff hitter.

Angels manager Joe Maddon was asked if he has considered moving Mike Trout up in the lineup from third as a result, but Maddon likes the way the lineup looks right now. Jared Walsh hit second on Friday.

"I thought about it,” Maddon said. “Simmons is actually doing a pretty good job and Walsh is swinging the bat well. But for right now, I kind of like the opportunities that Mike has been getting. The RBIs are good, everything's good. He's been pretty comfortable with it."

Marsh practicing at first base
Top prospect has been working at first base during his time at the alternate training site in Long Beach to increase his versatility. The outfielder, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the club’s No. 2 overall prospect behind Jo Adell, said he’s enjoyed getting some reps at a new position. He’s yet to play first in a game in Long Beach but has been practicing at the position for about 30-45 minutes a day.

"It was difficult at first, just having to kind of not go full-go and go and get the ball like I do in the outfield," Marsh said. "But guys are teaching me how to play the position. They're putting me in good positions, they're telling me the right things. I'm learning all the cues and stuff right now -- just positioning, shifts and all that -- and it's fun."

Maddon said Friday he doesn’t heard a timeline about when Marsh could get called up, as the Angels could wait until 2021 because of their current outfield depth. But Marsh believes he’s close to being ready.

"I'll say yes, just because [I've been] watching some of my best friends and teammates go up with the big league club,” Marsh said. “Seeing some of the homies go up, I feel like me and some other guys, we're close. So just got to keep working."

Upton returns
After missing two games, left fielder was back in the lineup against the Rockies on Friday, batting fifth. Upton had a bruised left hand due to being hit by two separate fastballs from Rangers right-hander Lance Lynn on Tuesday.

"He felt good yesterday, actually," Maddon said. "During the game, he was swinging a little bit, and I got the report back from the hitting coaches. I also talked to J-Up on the bench yesterday and he was very upbeat about it."