Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

« Previous Post | Sports Now Home | Next Post »

Angels Morning Briefing: Izturis to be more utility player than third baseman

February 24, 2011 |  9:49 am

Izturis_350 Maicer Izturis, assuming he is healthy, will be a "primary player" for the Angels this season, Manager Mike Scioscia said on Thursday, but he will not be the team's primary third baseman.

Scioscia said the switch-hitting infielder will also spell second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar, opening up third base more for Alberto Callaspo, who bats left-handed, and possibly Brandon Wood. That will allow the Angels to get more left-handed bats in the lineup against tough right-handed pitchers.

Kendrick, who bats right-handed, hit .351 from July 4 through the end of the 2009 season, in part because he shared second base with Izturis and was not exposed as much to right-handed pitching.

"If he plays 100 games, it could be a 40-30-30 split or a 40-40-20 split," Scioscia said of Izturis, who was limited by injury to 61 games last season. "We talk about keys to the club, and a lot of it comes back to Izzy, for good reason."

The Angels are counting on Izturis, who hit .250 last season but was superb in 2009 (.300, eight homers, 65 runs batted in, 74 runs) to be their primary leadoff hitter.

In other camp news, catching prospect Anel de los Santos jammed his left thumb when he slipped and fell during Wednesday's workout, and he will undergo X-rays Thursday. The Angels signed catcher Cole Armstrong, who was most recently in the Chicago White Sox organization, to a minor league contract.

Scioscia said Trevor Bell will start Saturday's Cactus League opener against the Dodgers, who will start Hiroki Kuroda at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

-- Mike DiGiovanna in Tempe, Ariz.

Photo: Maicer Izturis makes a barehanded catch to record the out on Detroit's Scott Sizemore. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times