by Kody Acevedo
Tempe — The Los Angeles Angels have a philosophy in their organization: Once an Angel, always an Angel.
They prove it, too. Every year, former Angels are invited to spring training at Diablo Stadium to serve as guest instructors for the team’s current players.
“I think it’s an important part of our tradition to move it forward and let guys understand on this team they’re in the clubhouse right now of some of the great Angel players that have played in the past,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
This year, the Angels welcomed former players Bobby Grich, Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Scot Shields, Clyde Wright, Wally Joyner and David Eckstein to camp.
First baseman C.J. Cron said their mere presence has an impact.
“I think they’re here more for the moral support, keeping the clubhouse loose, talking to the guys one-on-one,” Cron said. “They’ve been great so far.”
Cron said he’s had conversations about life as much as baseball, especially with Joyner and Shields recently.
“It shows they were a big fan of the organization and just (keeping) those guys around it keeps everything smooth,” he said.
Right-hander Cam Bedrosian agreed.
“Being around guys that have been through similar situations and know the ins and outs and little stuff like that can teach you tidbits,” Bedrosian said.
Bedrosian worked closely with Shields, a former relief pitcher, on his mechanics over the last couple of years. Shields, who pitched for the Angels for his entire 10-year career, appeared in nearly 500 games and ended with a career ERA of 3.18 in 697 innings pitched.
Bedrosian is hoping some of that rubs off on him as the two discussed mental approaches as well as mechanics.
“Some of the philosophies he had about (being) behind in counts and just kind of, no matter what thinking, that I’m going to throw a strike here,” Bedrosian said. “He talked to me last year about that, and I’ve been doing it since last year and it’s really helping a lot.”
Bedrosian said Shields and the rest of the guest instructors always help lighten the mood in the clubhouse too.
“These are the guys that have been through it. They’ll come in during the meetings and say something that’s funny. So it’s good to have them around.” Bedrosian said.
Eckstein and Shields were teammates on the 2002 championship team. Eckstein, the Angels’ shortstop that season, went on the play for the Cardinals, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and Padres before retiring in 2010.
Scioscia noted that both of those guys started in the same clubhouse every spring that the current Angel team works out of at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
“You know, we have Hall of Famers who have put an Angel uniform on, guys that have been on our world championship team that have been in the same clubhouse right there.” Scioscia said.
“We’ve had a lot of guest instructors and they all have a great time, and I know the players appreciate it, too.”