Kevin Frandsen adds to Angels' depth at first base
The Angels would not seem to have much leverage in trade talks for a potential first baseman to replace the injured Kendry Morales, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair a broken bone above his left ankle on Thursday.
With streaky-hitting catcher Mike Napoli their only viable long-term option at first, there is a perception in baseball that other teams will be able to dictate the terms of a trade, whether it's forcing the Angels to assume the entire contract of a high-priced first baseman such as Paul Konerko or Lance Berkman or to fork over more in talent than they might otherwise be comfortable with.
Manager Mike Scioscia went to great lengths Monday afternoon to shoot down that speculation.
"I don't consider us to be over a barrel," Scioscia said before the Angels' interleague game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Angel Stadium. "If there's something out there that makes sense, Tony [Reagins, general manager] will act on it and act quickly. But I think we have a little more depth than people perceive. Hopefully, we can keep moving forward."
The Angels have won 12 of 15 games since Morales was hurt, but their first baseman--Napoli, Michael Ryan and Robb Quinlan--have combined to hit .230 (14 for 61) with no home runs, five doubles and four runs batted in in those games.
Utility infielder Kevin Frandsen, who has never started a big league game at first but has played there in the minor leagues, will start against the Brewers and left-hander Randy Wolf Monday night. Frandsen has a .370 average.
"He's a natural infielder, so it shouldn't be a huge adjustment," Scioscia said. "He's swinging the bat well, and this is a chance to get him in there and get him some at-bats."
Frandsen, a middle infielder by trade, has made all 13 starts for the Angels this season at third base. Asked if there was any position he wouldn't volunteer to play, Frandsen said, "No, though I wouldn't want to pitch. I did it in a college league and walked a few guys. My velocity was down.
"I'm not scared to do anything. I want to be an asset to the team, and you do that by being able to play more positions and giving them more options. I've adjusted to that kind of role the last couple of years instead of just playing shortstop and second base."