Spring Training Preview: Los Angeles Angels
With a new head coach and a healthy star studded lineup, the Angels have high hopes for 2023
TEMPE, Ariz. ( KYMA, KECY-TV) - For the first time in over three years, MLB teams are operating spring training without any COVID-19 restrictions. For first year full time head coach Phil Nevin, it's not entirely smooth sailing.
"I'd love to say it's been a big advantage but, the disadvantage is it's a WBC year," Nevin said. "The two best players in the world are gone for most of spring training but I'm not worried about them."
Nevin is referring to Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. Ohtani played for Japan in the World Baseball Classic and struck out Mike Trout on Team USA for the final out in Japan's 3-2 win in the WBC championship game.
Even without his best two players, Nevin's Angels currently have the second base record in Cactus League play in Arizona with a 15-9 record entering today.
"We've had a lot of other guys miss a lot of time," Nevin said. "We have a player who we feel will serve a significant role all around the diamond for us that only has four at bats in three weeks, so, those are things that are frustrating."
Entering the final week of Spring Training in Tempe before heading back to Los Angeles, Nevin likes the competition he's observed to this point.
"We're in a good place," Nevin said. "We still have some decisions to make, there's still a week of games here for us to come up with some of those decisions and we still have three game in L.A. to do that so, I think we are in a great spot and the fact that I'm going to have some difficult decisions to make at the end of this and it's becoming more and more glaring each day that those decisions will be even more difficult than we thought, is a good thing."
The Angels final game in Tempe is this Saturday, March 25th against the Chicago Cubs. The Angels will open the season next Thursday, March 30th, 2023, on the road against the Oakland A's. Shohei Ohtani is penciled in as the opening day starter.