ANAHEIM—If the Angels needed him to pitch, he’d be happy to do it. Sean Rodriguez said he was an “occasional closer” in high school and a regular pitcher in his youth.
“It was easier then,” he said. “I didn’t need to throw any breaking balls.”
The Angels probably will pass on Rodriguez as a pitcher, but they would not hesitate to play him just about anywhere else on the diamond.
The 23-year-old played center field for most of his high school career and shortstop for most of his minor league career, but the Angels called him up to the big leagues as a second baseman.
“Whatever works,” Rodriguez said. “Whatever gets the job done and helps the team.”
The Angels selected Rodriguez out of Braddock (Miami) High in the third round of the 2003 draft. They honored him as their organizational player of the year in 2006, when he hit .307/.387/.557 with 29 home runs and 86 RBIs between low Class A Rancho Cucamonga, Double-A Arkansas and one game with Triple-A Salt Lake.
They invited him to spring training and worked him out at second base, then sent him back to Arkansas to play shortstop. Los Angeles promoted Rodriguez to the 40-man roster last winter and worked him at second base for the second straight spring training before sending him to Triple-A Salt Lake. He was hitting .250/.429/.531 there through 21 games when the Angels needed a second baseman following injuries to Howie Kendrick and Maicer Izturis. They tapped Rodriguez.
“He’s far enough along to feel comfortable around second base,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s carried himself very well up here. He has a very strong arm. He really takes to things quickly. He’s done a terrific job.” Throughout his minor league days, the Angels occasionally tried Rodriguez at different positions.
“Everywhere besides first base, catcher and pitcher,” he said
Scioscia said Rodriguez’s speed plays well in center field and his arm plays well in the outfield corners. “His upside is to play one position in the big leagues every day, whether it be second base or shortstop,” Scioscia said. “A guy who can play six positions is very valuable to a major league team. But nobody has penned Sean in as a utility player.”
• The Angels signed outfielder Adam Greenberg, 27, out of the independent Atlantic League and sent him to Double-A Arkansas. Greenberg got hit in the back of the head in his first major league plate appearance, with the Cubs in 2005, and he’s played in the minors for the Cubs, Dodgers, Royals and now Angels in search of that second appearance.
• The Angels promoted righthander Jose Arredondo, 24, from Salt Lake after he earned 10 saves in a month.