The Los Angeles Angels have already seen former first baseman Albert Pujols join spring camp to help instruct Minor League players, and with the World Baseball Classic getting underway, the club used this time as a larger learning opportunity.
Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, David Fletcher, and Gio Urshela are among Angels players away from the club, all of whom are seasoned big league players with strong influence because of their time in Major League Baseball. After a 73-89 record in 2022, general manager Perry Minasian brought in several proven, veteran guys like Hunter Renfroe, Tyler Anderson and Brandon Drury to supplement an otherwise young group.
Fortunately for the Angels, John Lackey, Adam Kennedy and Torii Hunter were chomping at the bit to lend their knowledge in the form of instruction at Spring Training, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“These are world champion guys,” Nevin said of Lackey and Kennedy. “Lackey started Game 7 as a rookie, and we talked about that with the group on [Monday]. And AK hit all those home runs in the ALCS. Those guys have been through it all and have won a ring, so anything these guys can absorb from them, the better we’ll be.”
Both Lackey and Kennedy were a part of the 2002 World Series championship team and have a lot to offer with adversity and winning pedigree, and Hunter spent five of his 19 years in MLB with the Angels, including two Silver Slugger Awards and nine Gold Gloves:
“His energy is the same as when he was a player,” Nevin said. “We played together for a short time, but you can just see it right away. The smile on his face, guys just flock to him. He’s a leader, they can pick his brain whatever they want to do.”
The Angels figure to lean on their young prospects for a good bit of the season, and the fact that injuries do happen, learning from former players who’ve taken the same path can do nothing but strengthen the bond within the organization.
Angels starter Sam Bachman beginning to feel like his old self
23-year-old Sam Bachman is prepared to take another step forward in his time with the Angels.
Drafted in the first round of the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft out of Miami (OH), Bachman joined the Angels for big league Spring Training, tossing a flawless inning in his debut on Feb. 26. His outing against the White Sox was special on a few fronts, he collected three punchouts, and did so on just nine pitches.
The results provided Bachman with some needed validation after the setbacks which forced him to slow down as a rising young arm.
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