OAKLAND -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia is playing it close to the vest, as usual, with regard to his American League Division Series roster in preparation for next week's showdown with the Red Sox. Scioscia hinted that the AL West champions three years running will go with 10 pitchers, which opens a spot for another position player. "That scenario is not as likely," Scioscia said when asked if he's considering 11 pitchers.
This appears to make Jose Arredondo the odd man out with starter Ervin Santana joining the relief corps.Assuming versatile veteran Robb Quinlan is active, there would be two spots available for three candidates: catcher Bobby Wilson, outfielder Reggie Willits and infielder Brandon Wood. The likely choices are Wilson and Willits. Wilson, a quality defensive catcher who spent most of the season at Triple-A Salt Lake with Willits and Wood, would give Scioscia the option of holding Mike Napoli back for pinch-hitting duties when Jeff Mathis is starting behind the plate. Willits has value in the late innings in multiple areas. He's a disciplined switch-hitter and a deft bunter. He also is a smart and aggressive baserunner, and he is capable of handling all three outfield roles. Wood, with raw power rivaling Napoli, would provide the ability to turn a game around with one swing. Wood has handled shortstop, third and first base for the Angels with sure hands and an accurate arm. "We've got a couple different rosters we've narrowed it down to," Scioscia said. "We won't announce it until Sunday." With Jon Lester poised to face the Angels' John Lackey in Game 1, Howard Kendrick is the likely starter at second base, moving Maicer Izturis to the bench, along with Gary Matthews Jr. and Napoli. Matthews, with three hits and two homers in six at-bats against Lester, likely would get first call in a pinch-hitting situation against the lefty. Izturis is 3-for-8 against him with two doubles and two RBIs, and Willits has two singles and a walk in three plate appearances against Lester.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.