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OC Register: Matt Thaiss is quietly making the Angels take notice


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GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Matt Thaiss is getting a good run with the Angels’ A-team of late, something he definitely recognizes but is not eager to make a big deal about.

Thaiss is OK with this becoming his new normal, it’s just that basking in the glow won’t make the playing-time opportunities last longer. Only hard work will.

It is an attitude that has been noticed. Asked if anybody has opened his eyes in camp so far, new Angels run producer Anthony Rendon did not hesitate to say who he is excited about.

“Matty Thaiss. I love the way he goes about his business over there at third base,” Rendon said. “And he has some big sock in that bat too. He’s in the clubhouse, he’s quiet, he’s listening a lot. It’s awesome to see.”

New manager Joe Maddon has been quick to compliment Thaiss as well, and the recognition has been rewarding for the young slugger.

“It’s awesome, obviously, if you can ever gain the respect of your peers and guys of (Rendon’s) caliber,” Thaiss said. “But I’m just lucky to be able to watch a guy like him do his work and be able to emulate what he does.

“I have also been lucky to follow Albert (Pujols) for three years and to emulate what he does. For me to have those two as examples, and the other guys in this locker room, that really helps me in my process.”

Tuesday’s road game against the Cleveland Indians was Thaiss’ fourth Cactus League game in the past five days. He had a hit in all four and an RBI in each of the previous three, including a towering home run Saturday against the San Francisco Giants.

“I think this kid is really good,” Maddon said. “I might have mentioned that I didn’t even realize he was a first-round draft choice. I’m watching him and he has power, but he also has a really good approach at the plate. He knows how to hit, and having been a catcher in college, he’s adapted well to the infield.”

Figuring out where to get the 24-year old some playing time is the trick now. Thaiss could give Pujols some breaks at first base, and could also give Rendon a break or two at third. He played 43 games at third in his rookie season last year and 13 at first.

Thaiss doesn’t want to think about that aspect right now. He had eight home runs with 23 RBIs in his 53 games with the Angels last season, but his main takeaway from his first taste of the American League is that everything will sort itself out with a strong work ethic.

“It’s just day by day and I will do whatever I can, wherever I am, to help the team in whatever capacity that is,” Thaiss said.

ALSO

Mike Trout, who was in high spirits in the Angels’ clubhouse Tuesday morning, said the social media announcement Monday of the upcoming birth of his son was a joint production between him and his wife. “Just a special moment in our life and that’s how we showed it,” Trout said. As a baseball man, manager Joe Maddon was thinking even further down the road. “We’ll be timing (the baby’s) first steps,” Maddon joked. …

Maddon and pitching coach Mickey Callaway seem to be set on an Opening Day starter, but an announcement on who gets the honor won’t be made until later this week. Left-hander Andrew Heaney is a possibility after extending himself to three innings against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday. Julio Teheran, who made six consecutive Opening Day starts with the Atlanta Braves, also is a possibility.

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maddon's got a great way about his word choice. he compliments thaiss, while reminding him he doesn't give a shit about when a player was drafted. it's an awesome way to communicate that everybody gets their chance with hard work and results.

i found it humorous that thaiss didn't mention being around trout in his mentors comments.

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18 minutes ago, ukyah said:

maddon's got a great way about his word choice. he compliments thaiss, while reminding him he doesn't give a shit about when a player was drafted. it's an awesome way to communicate that everybody gets their chance with hard work and results.

i found it humorous that thaiss didn't mention being around trout in his mentors comments.

Probably because he’s around the same age as Trout and he looks at him more as a friend and buddy. Pujols is almost 40 so that’s like the “grandmaster” of the clubhouse.

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