Angel Stadium visit by top draft picks stirs memories for Mike Scioscia
Three of the Angels' top picks from the recent draft -- outfielder Chevy Clarke (30th overall), shortstop Taylor Lindsey (37th overall) and outfielder Ryan Bolden (40th overall) -- worked out in Angel Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, sparking some memories for Angels Manager Mike Scioscia.
Scioscia was a first-round pick of the Dodgers out of Springfield (Pa.) High School in 1976. When the Dodgers were in Philadelphia to play the Phillies that summer, then-manager Tom Lasorda picked up Scioscia and drove him to Veterans Stadium for a workout with the Dodgers. Scioscia stayed for the game that night as well.
"I was nervous," Scioscia said. "More nervous because my parents didn't know I went. I left around noon and got back home at around 1 a.m. Steve Garvey gave me a pair of spikes. Reggie Smith gave me a bat to use in batting practice, but he said don't crack it. That was pressure."
Lindsey and Bolden, who have both signed and made their professional debuts earlier this week with the Angels' Arizona League rookie team, and Clarke, who is unsigned, took batting practice and fielding practice under the watch of Scioscia and the major league coaching staff, and afterward they met several players, including Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu, in the clubhouse.
"I'm amazed at how good these kids are at such a young age," Scioscia said. "It was that way with [first-round pick] Mike Trout last year. These kids today are impressive. The way they swing the bats, the poise they have, you wouldn't expect that from kids who are 18."
Scioscia remembered a similar meeting in Florida in 2000 with current Angels catcher-first baseman Mike Napoli, a 17th-round pick that year.
"The scouting reports were that he was real strong, but they weren't sure he had the arm strength to catch in the big leagues," Scioscia said. "I asked him if he wanted to catch. He looked me right in the eye and said, 'I want to catch in the big leagues.' You could see that determination."
You could not, however, see any ink on the arms of Napoli, who now sports numerous tattoos.
"He didn't have any tattoos then," Scioscia said.
-- Mike DiGiovanna