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Angels' prospect making fast impression

March 8, 2011 | 12:10 pm

Witherspoon_640
Mike Trout, the Angels' No. 1 minor-league prospect, is one of the fastest men in baseball. But he may only be the second-fastest outfielder in the team's spring training camp.

Travis Witherspoon, like Trout a nonroster invitee, could certainly give Trout a run for his money. And he can play a little bit too, as he showed Monday by running down a long wind-blown drive against the Cubs.

"He’s one of those really athletic kids," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said of Witherspoon, a 21-year-old from Sumter, S.C. "He’s been compared to a Gary Maddox-type, a guy that can really play center field and has plus speed and has to learn the offensive side of this game.

"But he has great potential. He’s representing himself very well. So it’s a step forward for the young man."

Witherspoon entered Tuesday with just one hit in four at-bats this spring. But he hit .309 in his second year of rookie ball last year. And in two seasons he's been thrown out just once in 31 stolen-base attempts.

"You run enough, you'll get caught," said Witherspoon, who couldn't name the catcher that got him but did remember it came against a Dodgers farm team.

"It was a muddy track," he added with a smile. "Sandy."

Tuesday morning notes before the Angels' Cactus League rematch with the Texas Rangers:

-- Infielder Alberto Callaspo had the afternoon off after participating in rundown drills. He has been testing his sore shoulder by throwing up to 120 feet and said his arm was improving.

-- Scioscia met behind closed doors with a couple of players after the team's regular mid-morning meeting, though he refused to identify the players or the subject of the meeting. Members of the media, who generally have free rein of the clubhouse and the hallway outside Scioscia's office, were banned from the building before the players were called to the manager's office.

"I had a couple of kids I had I to talk," Scioscia said. "We didn’t send them out but just prepped them for some stuff."

-- The Angels brought three extra pitchers over from the minor league side for Tuesday's game, leaving them with 67 players in camp. Scioscia said he doesn't expect to trim that number until next week since the team plays split-squad games on Thursday and Sunday.

"We should have enough innings for the guys to get their work in,” Scioscia said.

-- Scott Kazmir will start Wednesday against Colorado and is scheduled to throw four innings or 55 pitches, whichever comes first. He will be the first Angels pitcher to go that far.

-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.

Photo: Travis Witherspoon. Credit: Jake Roth / US Presswire

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