TEMPE, Ariz. -- Ian Stewart has been told he'll be traveling with the rest of the Angels to take part in the annual exhibition Freeway Series against the Dodgers in Southern California, right where the 28-year-old infielder and current non-roster invitee grew up.
He's hoping to stay there a little longer than three days.
"I thought a lot about it since I signed in January," Stewart said of cracking the Angels' Opening Day roster. "That's where my focus is, really, just trying to make this team. I feel like if I'm a part of this team, I can help them out."
Stewart is one of three non-roster position players left in camp, alongside utility infielder John McDonald (likely to win a spot off the bench) and outfielder Brennan Boesch (perceivably a long shot at this point).
Stewart batted only .201/.292/.335 in 55 Major League games in 2012 and is coming off a frustrating 2013 season, batting .171/.303/.347 in the Minor Leagues and getting released by the Cubs in late June for voicing his frustrations over not being called up via Twitter.
But Stewart could be a good fit on the Angels, as a left-handed power bat who can play up to three infield positions. He's naturally a third baseman, but Stewart can play second base in an emergency situation and says he's starting to feel comfortable at first -- a position he's never played in the big leagues.
"I just wanted to come in here and show that I was healthy and that I can still be a quality Major League player, like I have been in the past," said Stewart, who's batting .270 with two homers in 37 at-bats this spring. "I feel real good. I've had some injuries the last few years and that's really slowed me down quite a bit. I knew I'd have to come in and prove myself a little bit, show them that I can still play, show them that I'm healthy, and I feel like I've done that so far."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less