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With his two chief competitors optioned to Triple-A in Friday night, Johnny Giavotella is the presumptive winner of the Angels’ second baseman job and Taylor Featherston, who has never played above Double-A, is his backup.Both are feel-good stories for landing their respective positions considering Giavotella hasn’t had a season with more than 200 at-bats in the majors.Giavotella, 27, beat out Josh Rutledge, who entered spring training as the favorite to replace Howie Kendrick but was optioned to Triple-A along with Grant Green, who was also in the running to start at second base. Other Angels optioned to Triple-A on Friday night were highly regarded starting pitcher Andrew Heaney and infielder Kyle Kubitzka.Angels manager Mike Scioscia had high praise for Featherston, but the Angels had more incentive to keep him on the major league roster because if they hadn’t, he could have been claimed off waivers. The 25-year-old was a Rule 5 draft pick from the Colorado Rockies organization this winter, meaning the Rockies could have reclaimed him if he cleared waivers after the Angels sent him to the minors. Featherston, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, will likely play a significant bench role for the parent club considering his versatility in the infield. “I think Taylor has shown, first of all, extraordinary athleticism at three positions. That is special on the defensive side,” Scioscia said. “His defense plays at any level, whether he’s at rookie ball or on a World Series team. He can play. The offensive side,I think, is still developing, but he’s an exciting talent and we’ll see where it leads.”Neither Featherston nor Giavotella were in the Angels’ organization last season. Giavotella, a second-round pick in 2008, was acquired in December from the Royals for reliever Brian Broderick, who was signed out of the Mexican League shortly beforehand.Giavotella hit .308 in spring training, but during his 465 plate appearances for the Royals over parts of four seasons, he owns a slash line of .238/.277/.334, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Mattingly on analytics Dodgers manager Don Mattingly acknowledged some of the differences in how his bullpen is viewed by the relievers themselves versus management.The goal for relievers is, obviously, to be a closer. But analytics by which relievers are judged by front office executives looking for peak performance in the most important situations reveal that some of the more pivotal pitches in a given game aren’t necessarily in the ninth inning. The ultimate dictator for players, however, is the pay scale, which favors closers above all others in the bullpen. “(Analytics) look at high-leverage situations and that may be the seventh, it may be the eighth, but as far as (pitchers) are concerned, they look at it differently,” Mattingly said. “Them knowing their role and knowing they’re that guy. … Right now you get rewarded for saves.” Pitcher releasedPitcher Barry Enright, who has spent time in the Dodgers’ and Angels’ organizations over the last two years, has been released by the Dodgers.The right-hander, with a career 5.57 ERA in the majors, joined the Angels’ organization in 2012, but signed with the Dodgers in July of last year before finishing last season with the Phillies’ organization. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
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