Matsui sees first outfield action since mid-2008

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Hideki Matsui started in the outfield this afternoon for the first time since June of 2008, as the Angels hope his knees will be able to handle at least occasional defensive duties this season.
In fact, according to Lyle Spencer of MLB.com “the Angels’ plan is to give him a few starts in left field a week, if possible, to provide DH opportunities” for fellow outfielders Torii Hunter, Juan Rivera, and Bobby Abreu plus first baseman Kendry Morales and catcher Mike Napoli.
That seems like an exaggeration given that “a few starts in left field” each week would essentially mean he’s splitting time evenly between designated hitter and the outfield.
More likely is that Matsui sees one or maybe two starts per week in left field, allowing the Angels to rest other players at DH while also potentially keeping Napoli in the lineup on days he isn’t behind the plate. Barring an injury to Abreu or Rivera it would surprise me if Matsui ended up playing defense in more than a couple dozen games.

Braves trade David Hernandez to the Angels

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The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels have completed a minor trade: Atlanta is sending righty reliever David Hernandez to the Angels in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Hernandez hasn’t pitched in the big leagues this year. He’s pitched in seven games at Triple-A, allowing one earned run in eight innings of work. In seven years of big league work he’s got an ERA of 4.10 in 379 games. Last year he put up a 3.84 ERA in 70 games for the Phillies.

I’m assuming the PTBNL is not Mike Trout.

The Nats are sniffing around for relief pitching help

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The Nationals began the year with Blake Treinen as their closer. That didn’t last long, and now Koda Glover seems to be Dusty Baker’s man in the ninth inning. He earned a save for the second consecutive game yesterday. Glover has been pretty darn good in the early going, posting a 2.35 ERA and striking out six batters and walking only one in seven and two-thirds. That obviously a small sample size, and anything can happen. If it does, Baker has Shawn Kelley as an option.

Not many household names there, which is probably why the Nationals are reported to be interested in the White Sox’ David Robertson and Alex Colome of the Rays. That report comes from Jim Bowden of ESPN, who also notes that the A’s have a number of guys with closing experience on staff and are likely to be sellers too. The David Robertson thing may have more legs, though, given that Mike Rizzo and Rick Hahn pulled off a pretty major trade in the offseason. If you know a guy well, you call that guy first, right?

As far as problems go this isn’t a huge one. The Nats sit at 13-5 and, as expected by most prognosticators, are in first place in the National League East. The Cubs had some questions in the pen this time last year too. They had the luxury of trying to figure it out before making a massive trade for a closer. The Nats do too, and likely will. But expect them to be a part of any trade rumor conversation for the next couple of months.