Scioscia opts to carry extra position players

Scioscia opts to carry extra position players

Scioscia opts to carry extra position players
TEMPE, Ariz. -- With the Angels not needing a fifth starter until April 15, manager Mike Scioscia's preference is to use the temporarily open roster spot on an additional bench player rather than another bullpen arm.

That means the door is open for Alexi Amarista, Jorge Cantu, Andrew Romine and Ryan Langerhans -- though Scioscia didn't dismiss the seemingly unlikely scenario of starting the season with three catchers.

"A lot of guys who are on that bench are going to be fighting for it," Scioscia said. "We can't bring them all, obviously, but there are some guys in that pool of players that will probably get a longer look than they might have, just because we'll be at 11 pitchers instead of 12."

Chris Iannetta, Mark Trumbo, Alberto Callaspo, Maicer Izturis, Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Albert Pujols, Kendrys Morales (if his health continues), Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos, Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and the backup catcher (either the out-of-options Bobby Wilson or the younger Hank Conger) will make up the first 13 position players.

Amarista, Cantu, Romine and Langerhans would each offer something different as the final bench guy.

Cantu, who has a May 1 opt-out in his contract, is the most accomplished of the group and is having a nice spring, but can really only play the corner infield and the Angels have plenty of options there. Langerhans, another veteran with a later opt-out, can hold value because of his lefty bat and his ability to be a defensive substitution at all three outfield spots, but hasn't really impressed in Cactus League play.

Romine and Amarista, who each have options left, were up with the club last year and offer varying degrees of versatility.

Amarista can play the middle infield and all three outfield positions, can be used as a pinch-runner and has had a very good spring so far. Mostly a shortstop, Romine also has minimal experience at third and second base, can also be used as a pinch-runner and -- unlike the lefty-hitting Amarista -- is a switch-hitter. But Romine hasn't had as good a spring.