Testing the Angels in the outfield
One of the biggest concerns the Angels had heading into spring training was how their outfield trio of Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos and Torii Hunter would mesh on defense.They'll get a bit of an answer Monday when the three play together for the first time in an exhibition game with the Oakland Athletics.
Hunter and Wells are Gold Glove centerfielders; the talented Bourjos has yet to play a full season in the majors. Hunter moved to right field when Bourjos was called up from the minor leagues in August, but Wells, acquired in a winter trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, has played left field just once as a big-leaguer -- during last year's All-Star game in Anaheim.
"The biggest component is going to be the relationship between Vernon Wells and Peter Bourjos," Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Torii's fine in right with Peter. They got the wraps off a little bit last year. At the very best, this outfield is going to do all the things that are important to teams winning games. Not just making the diving catch or robbing home runs or making spectacular plays. Just making more plays routine.
"You want these guys to get out there a lot because it's going to show up a lot the more they're out there on the defensive side. Trying to get them together playing as one unit is going to take some time but it's something we should be able to accomplish this spring."
With Wells, Hunter and designated hitter Bobby Abreu making their spring debuts, Monday's starting lineup was close to the one the Angels are projected to use most of the season. The only regular missing was first baseman Kendry Morales, who is still rehabbing the ankle he broke in May.
Monday's starting lineup:
3B -- Maicer Izturis
DH -- Bobby Abreu
RF -- Torii Hunter
LF -- Vernon Wells
2B -- Howie Kendrick
SS -- Erick Aybar
1B -- Mark Trumbo
C -- Jeff Mathis
CF -- Peter Bourjos
P -- Joel Pineiro
-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.