Angels’ Anthony Rendon says he’s ready to go after coronavirus layoff
ANAHEIM — A week after the end of three-month stretch in which he admittedly spent more time changing diapers than doing baseball work, Anthony Rendon said he’s nonetheless ready to go.
“When we grow up, coaches say you can’t turn it on and off like it’s a light switch,” the Angels third baseman said Thursday. “You can’t just decide to show up whenever you want. But I think as we get older, we know what we need to do to prepare ourselves for a game. As men, as professionals, I think there is a little bit of a light switch where we know that we’ve got to go right now. We can kind of turn it on and say we need to get down to business and bear down because the real deal is about to happen.
“If the season started today, I think a lot of guys, including myself, would be ready and can actually perform out there and be comfortable.”
Seven months after signing a seven-year, $245-million deal with the Angels, Rendon is now two weeks away from finally making his debut, provided the coronavirus cooperates and allows the season to start.
Rendon had a month with his new teammates before the shutdown, and since then he has been at home with his wife and their two daughters, ages 2 and four months.
Because he was busy with family and trying to stay safe, Rendon said he didn’t venture out much for baseball.
“A lot of mental hacks,” he said. “Mental ground balls. Mental throws. I’d throw a tennis ball against the wall, maybe…. It’s kind of a terrible situation that we’re in now. I didn’t really do too much but try to stay in shape as best I could.”
Most of the Angels major-leaguers worked out early and then were done for the day, with the minor-leaguers playing in a short intrasquad game.
The highlight was a Jo Adell homer, a line drive over the fence in right-center.
Jose Rodriguez and Chris Rodriguez each took two turns on the mound, marking a significant milestone for Chris Rodriguez. One of the Angels’ top pitching prospects, Chris Rodriguez has missed significant time throughout his short pro career with back problems.
Manager Joe Maddon said he would watch the game as if he were a scout, looking for little hints at the players’ potential.
“You just got to watch how the guy reacts to the moment,” Maddon said. “As a position player, you might see something in the batter’s box you like. You might see a first move you like on defense. The pitcher, you’re looking for delivery, looseness, free arm, carry out of the hand, and again, how he handles this situation. And if he’s able to be in control of his emotions.”
The regulars are expected to be back in action for Friday afternoon’s intrasquad game.
A day after the Angels played their intrasquad game with crowd noise piped in over the ballpark speakers, the experiment got mixed reviews from Rendon and Maddon.
Rendon said he wasn’t buying it the noise without the fans.
“It’s like you have two of your senses that aren’t coinciding with one another,” he said. “It’s like you’re looking at a pizza, but you’re smelling a hamburger. You hear noise, but you know nobody in the stands. You don’t see anybody. I think it was dumb. I’d rather listen to music.”
Maddon, however, said it served its purpose of keeping his focus on the field. He had to raise his voice to communicate with GM Billy Eppler, who was sitting just behind the screen.
“It felt somewhat normal,” Maddon said. “Because your emphasis is there and it’s not quiet and you’re just looking around. I think you can be distracted by the quiet. I think you have a better chance of locking in with noise. It’s different. It’s not playing golf.”
The Angels used the crowd noise again Thursday.
Jared Walsh and Patrick Sandoval, who had been two of the players absent from camp without explanation in the first week, arrived and participated in workouts Thursday, Maddon said.
The Angels have also added right-hander Adrian De Horta to their player pool. De Horta had been in big-league camp in spring training.
They are expected to add left-handed pitcher Adam Seminaris, who they just last month selected in the fifth round out of Long Beach State.