Notes: Budde knows role in spring
Prospect establishes himself as Angels' third catcher
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Ryan Budde has already had one big moment in the Major Leagues. With any luck, he'll get a few more chances.The 28-year-old catcher knows exactly where he stands in the Angels' organization. He's the oldest of a group of young, talented catchers who have gained a footing. He's the third catcher behind Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli, and he's in front of up-and-comers like Bobby Wilson, Tim Duff, Ben Johnson, Hank Conger and Anel De Los Santos. Budde thinks of it as one big fraternity. "It's a great group of guys," he said. "We talk to each other about every little thing. This is one of the best pitching staffs, too. They make our jobs a lot easier." Budde is the Angels' insurance policy at the catching position. He's a good, solid receiver capable of playing in the big leagues. The Phillies took him as a Rule 5 Draft pick last year. He spent 23 days on the 25-man roster, but a left oblique muscle strain forced the Phillies to send him back to the Angels. After spending April in the big leagues, most of it on the disabled list, Budde finally got his chance to play in late July. His first RBI resulted in a walk-off win in extra innings against the Yankees. "I don't know if many people will remember that, but I know my family will," Budde said. "It will live on in the family." Getting his chance to play with the parent club also allowed Budde to relax more this Spring Training. He's a proven commodity for the Halos. "It was a dream come true after working so hard," Budde said. "I am a lot more relaxed this year. In the past, I felt I had to do everything perfectly." And as far as handling pitchers, Budde says he normally doesn't have to say too much. "I give 'em a smile," he said. "It speaks a thousand words." Matthews in the corner: The addition of free-agent center fielder Torii Hunter has caused a slight change in the outfield for Gary Matthews Jr., a natural center fielder himself.
"His role has been modified a little bit on the defensive end, but his role as a player hasn't changed," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He has had to learn to play both corners. His preference is to play center field, that's why he signed here."Matthews is part of a four-player rotation in the outfield, which also includes Vladimir Guerrero, who owns one of the strongest arms in right field, and Garret Anderson, a quality left fielder. The designated hitter spot alleviates some of the congestion, but not entirely. "Nobody wants to be the everyday DH," Scioscia said. "We can use any of the four outfielders. We have to keep guys in their positions as much as we can. We can change up the DH to keep them rested and healthy." Squeeze plays: Right-hander Scott Shields (shoulder) was to throw a 30-pitch bullpen session, and if all goes well, he could make a game appearance early next week. ... Scioscia suggested that outfielder Juan Rivera might get a look at first base to help ease the crowded outfield situation. "He'll get as many at bats as we can get him," Scioscia said. "He can hit. We're exploring first base." ... First baseman Kendry Morales will rest for a while to help relieve arm tendinitis. ... Righty Kelvim Escobar is making progress in strengthening his shoulder, but he isn't scheduled to start throwing a baseball until the end of the month. ... Righty Dustin Moseley allowed a two-run home run in two innings, with a walk and three strikeouts in his start in Tucson on Saturday. Scioscia hopes to build him up to 70 pitches, so he's capable of making a spot start if needed. ... Infielder Robb Quinlan will miss a day after a ball hit him in the face during a soft toss drill on Friday. Up next: The Angels continue their homestand with a game against the Rangers on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. PT. Ervin Santana will make his third start of the spring, while the Rangers send Kason Gabbard to the mound for his third start.
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.