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OC Register: New Angels infielder Gio Urshela is ready for utility role


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Although Gio Urshela has played primarily third base throughout his career, he said he’s prepared to move around with the Angels.

“I’ve been playing a lot of positions the last couple years,” Urshela said on Monday, three days after the Angels acquired him in a trade with the Minnesota Twins. “I think it’s going to be fun for me playing whenever they need me. I’ll be playing shortstop, second base, first base, third base.”

Urshela said he’s only played outfield once, but he’s prepared to do that too.

The Angels have Anthony Rendon to play third. Rendon has missed most of the last two years with injuries. If he gets hurt again in 2023, obviously Urshela would be able to step in and play third, a position where he’s been for 548 of his 600 big league games.

If Rendon is healthy, Urshela will move around the diamond, primarily at the different infield spots, General Manager Perry Minasian said last week. Minasian said he envisions Urshela as an everyday player, even if his position isn’t set.

Although Urshela’s major league experience has been limited at those other spots, he said he’s worked out regularly at different positions for the past few years. He said every winter he works out at shortstop.

Urshela said he was “excited” for the opportunity to join the Angels and be reunited with Manager Phil Nevin, who was the Yankees’ third base coach when Urshela played in New York.

“Phil is a great guy,” Urshela said. “He called me right away when I got traded to the Angels. I’ve known him for the last five years. He’s a good guy for me.”

Urshela said joining the Angels also allows him to follow in the footsteps of one of his favorite players. Orlando Cabrera, a fellow Colombian, played for the Angels from 2005-07, when Urshela was 14-16 years old.

“He was my role model when I was a little kid, him and (Colombian) Edgar Renteria,” Urshela said. ”I always wanted to be like Orlando or Edgar Renteria.”

Urshela also said he is planning to play for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic. Colombia is in the same pool as the United States, which plays its first-round games March 11-15 in Phoenix.

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46 minutes ago, TempeAngel said:

I think Urshela will play more games at 1B this year than Walsh will.

And that is a very good thing for the Angels!!

As I posted in another thread, Urshela has played all of 7 innings at 1st base his entire career. He will not be replacing Walsh at that position. He will not getting any more than emergency innings there. 

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4 minutes ago, Blarg said:

As I posted in another thread, Urshela has played all of 7 innings at 1st base his entire career. He will not be replacing Walsh at that position. He will not getting any more than emergency innings there. 

I don’t know about that. 
 

Perry said specifically that he thought 1B was a natural fit for him. 

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9 minutes ago, Angels 1961 said:

Platoon with Walsh for sure, plus Rendon play about 5 games a week.

That would seem reasonable to me.  Urshela would be a natural platoon partner with Walsh at 1B, and given Rendon's poor health of late, it would be wise to give him ample rest, at least to start off the year.

Urshela, I imagine, will probably start about 5 times a week, mainly at 1B/3B, with an occasional 2B/SS start (although not too often).

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2 minutes ago, Warfarin said:

That would seem reasonable to me.  Urshela would be a natural platoon partner with Walsh at 1B, and given Rendon's poor health of late, it would be wise to give him ample rest, at least to start off the year.

Urshela, I imagine, will probably start about 5 times a week, mainly at 1B/3B, with an occasional 2B/SS start (although not too often).

Yeah, I'd guess 2 each at the corners with maybe 1 at SS if everyone is healthy. If Walsh tails off or Rendon has more issues, that will obviously change. The AB's will be there one way or another. 

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12 hours ago, Blarg said:

As I posted in another thread, Urshela has played all of 7 innings at 1st base his entire career. He will not be replacing Walsh at that position. He will not getting any more than emergency innings there. 

It's one thing to have an opinion,  but when you are so adamant  - you set yourself up for ridicule (once again). You state this in such a matter of fact manner even though reports say otherwise that you are destined to get Lou'd.

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1 hour ago, T.G. said:

@Blarg you should know know there is a long list of third basemen who have converted to playing first base.

I am very comfortable saying if you can adequately play 3B in the majors you can adequately play 1B.

The way I look at it, if a guy is terrible defensively he may also be terrible at 1B.  But if a guy can play good defense at other positions, he can probably play 1B just fine.

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1 minute ago, Angel Oracle said:

Enough to get a lot of the 1B starts vs LHP?

Maybe, although I doubt the FO would announce any kind of like platoon yet at this point.  But all that said, Minasian has directly said he sees 1B as his best "alternate" position (i.e., best position that isn't 3B), so I would anticipate he would get a good amount of starts there - not "emergency basis."

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1 hour ago, Warfarin said:

Maybe, although I doubt the FO would announce any kind of like platoon yet at this point.  But all that said, Minasian has directly said he sees 1B as his best "alternate" position (i.e., best position that isn't 3B), so I would anticipate he would get a good amount of starts there - not "emergency basis."

Well to be fair, I might call the lack of offense on this team last year an “emergency.”

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Here’s the actual quote. The question was, “if everyone is healthy what’s his best alternate position?”

“I think first base. Just with talking to the different people that I've been around him and he's worked in a lot of different positions. Obvously third base is his spot, he's a very good third baseman. In a limited amount of time with the Yankees in 21 He played some shortstop, it was playable.  I  think second base is something he's done in the past, not much, but hes done it. He'll work at it in spring training. First base I think is a more natural fit  in certain instances. he covers us in a lot of spots and again, I think it's something that might we might take a look at him in the outfield in spring training and see what what he looks like out there. The more versatility you have on a roster, the better off you are. So that's something that we we've really pursued early this offseason and at the end of the day, it’s going to be Phil's job to fill out the lineup and put them where he wants to put him in the place he thinks is best to where you can win the game.”

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On 11/22/2022 at 6:52 PM, Jeff Fletcher said:

Here’s the actual quote. The question was, “if everyone is healthy what’s his best alternate position?”

“I think first base. Just with talking to the different people that I've been around him and he's worked in a lot of different positions. Obvously third base is his spot, he's a very good third baseman. In a limited amount of time with the Yankees in 21 He played some shortstop, it was playable.  I  think second base is something he's done in the past, not much, but hes done it. He'll work at it in spring training. First base I think is a more natural fit  in certain instances. he covers us in a lot of spots and again, I think it's something that might we might take a look at him in the outfield in spring training and see what what he looks like out there. The more versatility you have on a roster, the better off you are. So that's something that we we've really pursued early this offseason and at the end of the day, it’s going to be Phil's job to fill out the lineup and put them where he wants to put him in the place he thinks is best to where you can win the game.”

It will be interesting to see where Urshela plays, but he will play somewhere everyday if healthy. He's that good - in the field and against LHP's and RHP's. It will depend on the health and effectiveness of others as is the norm. I know Rendon will be productive at 3B if healthy. Health and productivity is a question mark with Walsh at 1B but I hope he can turn it around. But he will be in the lineup for 145 games I think.

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