Callaspo ready to pitch in for Angels

Callaspo ready to pitch in for Angels

ARLINGTON -- Alberto Callaspo was welcomed by Erick Aybar and a few other old friends, returning to his original organization on Friday, and the Angels let him know they were happy to have him by putting him in the starting lineup, batting seventh, against Rangers southpaw C.J. Wilson in a game they really needed at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Acquired from the Royals in exchange for pitchers Sean O'Sullivan and Will Smith, Callaspo "is a guy who squares up a baseball," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That appeals to us."

Callaspo, handed uniform No. 12, becomes the fourth Angels third baseman this season, and the others -- Brandon Wood, Kevin Frandsen and Maicer Izturis -- remain on the roster providing excellent depth at the position. The Angels have almost as many third basemen as starting pitchers now.

"I was excited," said Callaspo, who was signed by the Angels in 2001 as a Venezuelan teen, of his reaction when he learned of the trade in New York on Thursday. "This was my team when I signed. I grew up with this team."

Callaspo was primarily a second baseman in his youth, but he has taken well to third base the past two seasons in Kansas City and hopes to be there on a regular basis, although he'll be happy to fill in for good buddy Aybar at shortstop and Howard Kendrick at second.

"I'll just do my job anywhere they want me," Callaspo said, having been traded for the third time. The Angels sent him to Arizona for Jason Bulger, and the D-backs flipped him to the Royals for Billy Buckner.

A switch-hitter, Callaspo was hitting .275 with eight homers and 43 RBIs entering Friday. He had a .308 on-base percentage and .410 slugging mark. Playing 155 games last season, he batted .300 with 11 homers and a career-high 73 RBIs. He has cooled off lately, with two extra-base hits in his past 25 games, but said his stroke "feels good now" and he's ready to "help my team win games."