Angels hoping acquisition of Alberto Callaspo boosts offense
The move probably won't have the Texas Rangers quaking in their cleats, but the Angels think they upgraded their offense with Thursday's acquisition of infielder Alberto Callaspo from the Kansas City Royals for pitchers Sean O'Sullivan, who was recalled from triple A and won Tuesday night's game in Yankee Stadium, and double-A left-hander Will Smith.
Though the switch-hitter is something of a Maicer Izturis clone -- he can play second base and shortstop, as well -- Manager Mike Scioscia hinted that Callaspo would step in as the starter at third base, with Izturis, who returned from a five-week stint on the disabled list on Tuesday, returning to his super utility role.
Callaspo is scheduled to join the Angels, who enter Thursday night's game five games behind Texas in the American League West, Friday in Arlington, Texas, for the second game of a key four-game series against the Rangers.
"Alberto has a lot of versatility, like Izzy, and what he does in the batter's box is special -- he can hit," Scioscia said. "He should fill some of the void left by [injured first baseman] Kendry Morales. He will be a boost to the offense."
General Manager Tony Reagins said Izturis' spotty health record -- Izturis has already missed about two months of this season because of injuries -- was "not much of a factor" in the trade, but it's hard to imagine the Angels making such a move if they were confident Izturis could remain in the lineup on a daily basis.
Reagins was also adamant in denying that the acquisition of Callaspo, a 27-year-old who will be in his first year of arbitration next year, would have a negative short- or long-term impact on the future of Brandon Wood, who was supposed to be the answer at third base until he struggled with a .168 average, three homers, 12 RBIs, 52 strikeouts and only four walks this season.
"It doesn't affect Wood's future in any way," Reagins said.
Asked how this was possible, Reagins said, "It doesn't."
Said Scioscia: "It doesn't affect Brandon's long-term future, but when you're fighting for at-bats at one position and another guy comes in at that position, there's more of a battle for at-bats. This is about getting some consistency. It will have some effect [on Wood], for sure."
O'Sullivan, who allowed two runs and two hits in six innings of Tuesday night's 10-2 victory over the Yankees, got the news from Scioscia at about 5 p.m. CDT, two hours before the game in Texas.
"It's a little weird -- I've never changed teams before -- but I'm happy to be going to a place they want me," the right-hander said. "My goal has been to go somewhere where the team needs you, where they want you and where you get a chance to show your talents."
O'Sullivan has spent six separate stints in the majors with the Angels, posting a 5-2 record and a 5.15 earned-run average in 17 games, 11 of them starts. Asked whether his performance Tuesday night in New York piqued the Royals' interest, O'Sullivan said, "It couldn't have hurt."
Smith, 21, a seventh-round pick in 2008, pitched at three levels of the Angels' farm system in 2010, going 2-2 with a 4.58 ERA in six starts at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA in four starts at double-A Arkansas and 2-4 with a 5.60 ERA in nine starts for triple-A Salt Lake.
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Arlington, Texas